Tag: Luis Mendoza

Luis Mendoza Named Royals Fifth Starter, Creating a Logjam in Bullpen

The competition to become the No. 5 starter for the Kansas City Royals in 2013 began with five names: Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, Will Smith and Yordano Ventura. With less than a week before Opening Day, the team has announced a winner.

Mendoza will pitch behind James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis in the team’s starting rotation (via the Kansas City Star).

After a strong spring in which he allowed just one run in 11 innings, Mendoza hopes to carry his success over to the regular season and help the Royals compete whenever his turn is up.

That was my main goal. But it’s not just that, I want to do my best, pitch well, pitch to win and help my teammates to have the opportunity to win games.

While the Royals made the correct decision here, the move places another expensive arm in the bullpen—ultimately taking a spot away from a potentially more deserving, cheaper and younger arm.

With both Hochevar and Chen (making over $9 million in combined salary this season) entering the season as relievers, Kansas City’s decision on who to include in the team’s seven-man bullpen is no easy task.

Greg Holland is the team’s closer, with Kelvin Herrera serving as his primary setup man. Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are also entrenched in their roles.

Assuming the Royals do keep Chen and Hochevar in the bullpen, there is only one spot remaining for Louis Coleman, Donnie Joseph, Francisley Bueno, Dan Wheeler or J.C. Gutierrez to claim. Not to mention that Smith, Nate Adcock and Everett Teaford will be stashed at Triple-A Omaha until their services may also be needed.

Having options is never a bad thing, especially for a team that struggles to compete like the Royals. But with Hochevar and Chen blocking players that seem to have a long-term future in Kansas City, this franchise must start making better decisions on how to construct its pitching staff.


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Kansas City Royals: Luis Mendoza Making Strong Case to Be Team’s No. 5 Starter

Coming off a season that yielded just 72 wins, it may surprise some that the Kansas City Royals entered spring training with very few positions up for grabs.

Still, they need to decide who will be pegged to see the most time at second base, and who will emerge as the team’s fifth starter.

While it is likely that some sort of platoon will take place at second base between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella, Kansas City really needs to find a consistent arm at the back of its rotation.

After an aggressive offseason to upgrade their starting pitching (trading for James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana, and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie), the Royals were left with a handful of familiar faces to battle it out for the final spot.

Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza were all leading candidates for the spot, while Will Smith and Yordano Ventura were long shots.

With just two weeks before the 2013 season kicks off, the Royals announced that Hochevar would be moved to the bullpen (via KansasCity.com). Kansas City also deciding to send Smith and Ventura to the Minor Leagues in order to maintain consistent work as the season approaches.

So now only two options remain: Mendoza and Chen.


In Chen, the Royals have a fan favorite who has seen nominal success with the team over the past few seasons

However, he took a step back in 2012 posting a 5.07 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. His spring stats are not very encouraging at the moment either: 7.90 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and seven home runs allowed in 13.2 innings.

Chen’s $4.5 million salary and the fact that he is a lefty will also be considered. As it stands, the Royals have no left-handed pitchers in the rotation.

Mendoza embodies more of a wild-card than Chen, as his track record is much shorter but the upside is much greater. Through three spring appearances, he has tallied a .82 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP with just two walks and eight strikeouts in 11 innings.

If the last impression indicates who currently leads for the fifth spot, Mendoza—who is coming off a five-inning, four-hit and four-strikeout performance in Sunday’s 10-0 win over the Chicago White Sox—is running laps around Chen.

While it may come down to preference, this decision could ultimately determine whether the Royals are ready to take that next step forward as a team.


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