Even though the post season games are still being played, the post season roster shuffle has already started, and one Mormon player has already suffered a setback. The Kansas City backup outfielder Mitch Maier was released by the Royals on October 5th, leaving Maier looking for a new team. Maier ended the season in the minors, after hitting just .172 at the plate in the majors, down from .263 in 2010.
Maier hit much better in AAA this year, .288 with the Omaha Storm Chasers, and participated in the team’s AAA post-season bid. His numbers are strong enough that a minor league contract seems likely, but a major league contract is perhaps beyond his reach.
Rumors are already circulating about other Mormon players. The Marlin’s Josh Johnson will reportedly be shopped during the off season. While Johnson’s numbers were reasonable (3.81 era, 165 K, 65 bb), he ended up with the first losing record of his major league career, 8-14 and his performance was far from his 2010 record of 11-6 with a 2.30 era. The biggest difficulty is that Johson’s performance isn’t worth his $13.75 million salary, which will stay the same next year.
One big question mark is the Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie, who many expect to be resigned by the Royals, given his strong performance with the team as he returned to the American League. He spent a disastrous first half of the season with the Colorado Rockies. The Royals need good pitching, but Guthrie likely isn’t considered a potential ace for the staff, so he may get less than the $8.2 million the Rockies paid him for this year and a deal may take a while to ink as the Rockies pursue other pitchers as potential aces for their staff.
Of course, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to off season transactions.