When I was a kid, there was always a player or two on the Royals team that seemed like dead weight (see Jerry Terrell, Rance Mulliniks, Greg Pryor…) He couldn’t hit very well, and he wasn’t good enough to hold a starting position. Yet every few days or so he was in the lineup, filling in for one of my favorite players.
It was explained to me that every team had to have one of these guys – they were called “utility infielders,” and even though you didn’t like seeing them in the lineup, they were necessary. When infielders were injured or needed a rest, you needed a versatile, dependable guy who could play any infield position as a replacement.
I never liked those guys, but I accepted that they were necessary.
So last summer I thought the Royals had a potential utility infielder in Mike Aviles. With Johnny Giavotella, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas looming, Aviles seemed destined for the bench. But Aviles is not just a Punch and Judy hitter. The Royals weren’t exactly surrenderin...