Things can change very quickly in Major League Baseball. Right now, there’s no better example of that than the Kansas City Royals,
In a span of 18 months, the Royals have gone from baseball’s most exciting and successful team — winning the franchise’s first World Series in 30 years — to the brink of a rebuild thanks to this season’s disappointing 12-21 start.
In fact, we may have seen the first steps toward a full-scale house-cleaning on Wednesday when the team designated two players, Christian Colon and Peter O’Brien, for assignment.
If Colon’s name in particular rings a bell, it should. He was responsible for what Royals fans, players and executives could say is the franchise’s most important hit in the last 32 years.
In his first and only appearance during the entire 2015 postseason, Colon sunk the Mets with a sinking line drive that fell for a go-ahead single in the 12th inning in Game 5 of the World Series. The Royals would go on to add five more runs in the championship-clinching inning, but it was Colon’s unexpected contribution that fueled the win.
From the highest of highs then, to the reality of the present. In same span of 18 months, Colon has gone from World Series hero to virtually unemployed now that the Royals have removed him from their 40-man roster.
Colon’s situation was a little easier to see coming. While no one can ever take away his World Series moment, it was also difficult to ignore the circumstances surrounding it. Colon had essentially become an end-of-the-bench player reserved for only the most desperate moments, which is what manager Ned Yost faced as he ran out of players on that memorable night.
That’s not the role the Royals envisioned for Colon when selecting him as the No. 4 player overall in the 2010 draft, but it’s the only role he’d earned after struggling to adjust in the big leagues.
Colon showed some signs of promise in the 2015 regular season, hitting .290/.356/.336 through 119 plate appearances. But that wasn’t enough to earn Yost’s trust in the postseason. When the team attempted to expand his role out of necessity in 2016, it became apparent he wasn’t ready. He hit only .231/.294/.293 in 154 plate appearances,
Now 27, Colon is clearly no longer in the team’s plans, meaning he’ll end his tenure there bearing the labels of first-round bust and a franchise legend, at least to an extent. It’s a distinction you probably won’t find too many examples of outside baseball, but the good news for Colon is that fans will remember his World Series hit more 20 years from now that the fact he never panned out.
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