I’m excited about this move. I absolutely would have loved to see Kila succeed at the major league level, and maybe at some point he will, but it won’t be with the Royals. Kila was struggling intensely this season, and he didn’t get a fair shake, but sometimes that’s the way it works. He was done a disservice by being kept down by poor acquisitions, and I feel bad for the guy, but in the end he was not the Royals solution at 1B. That solution is Eric Hosmer.
I have seen some words on the Twitter that this indicates the Royals are officially entering the division race. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems like they’re going to at least give themselves a more legitimate shot. It could turn out that Hosmer struggles. Perhaps Kila finds success again in AAA and they make another switch after a few weeks. They can argue that Kila just needed to get his confidence back and Hosmer was ready for a taste of MLB pitching. More likely though, after Hosmer hit .439 in AAA Omaha to start the year, they’re giving their first baseman of the future the opportunity that he has earned. With a glaring hole in the offense now hopefully filled, the only thing to really worry about is starting pitching.
What this does for the lineup is clear some things up. Hosmer should be the everyday 1B going forward. Betemit should now see regular time at 3B, and Aviles will fight him and Getz for time at 2B and 3B. Kila will get regular ABs down in the minors instead of riding the pine, which doesn’t make sense for him. There should no longer be odd platoons at 1B, just Hosmer and Billy, and this should be good for all involved, except of course Kila Ka’aihue.
So after some rookie relievers and Hosmer, who’s next? My guess would be Vinny Mazzaro since he’s already on the 40-man roster. If they call up another starter after that I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it was Kevin Pucetas, who has had the most success of his career so far in Omaha with a 0.91 WHIP, 1.96 ERA and 20K to 5BB in 23IP, as he is on the 40-man roster as well. If the Royals are really making a run though, they’ll soon be calling for Danny Duffy who is blowing batters away in Omaha with a 33:6 K:BB in 26 innings helping him keep his WHIP down to 0.96 and a low 2.08 ERA. I don’t think we’ll see Duffy here all that soon unless Davies or O’Sullivan have multiple bad outings in a row, but if they really want to win, they’re going to need Duffy.