On Saturday, the KC Royals announced two more minor league signings (still no announcement yet of spring training invites). Both players I have gotten to see quite a bit over the years.
Infielder Jason Donald has bounced around a but since being drafted out of Arizona by the Philadelphia Phillies in the third round in 2006. I saw him come up through the Phillies minor league system and thought he would fit in nicely with them, until he was traded to Cleveland as part of the Cliff Lee deal. Donald made his big league debut in 2010 with the Indians and played with them in parts of three seasons (in the Majors). He hit .253 in 2010 in a career-high 88 games. The following season, he hit .318 in 39 games.
Donald signed with Cincinnati and played the whole 2013 season with Triple-A Louisville, where he struggled. He hit just .219 in 78 games, though he scored 23 runs and hit 15 doubles. I am sure he will get a big league invite, but will probably be a roster filler in Triple-A Omaha, especially considering he is a utility man just like Emilio Bonifacio.
One thing I can say about Donald is that he is a grinder who plays hard 100% of the time.
The Royals also signed outfielder Melky Mesa, who is just 26 years old and spent his entire professional career in the NY Yankees organization. At the end of the 2013 minor league season, the Yankees recalled Mesa only to designate him for assignment (he was injured at the time). He cleared waivers but then was released. I was surprised that it took this long for someone to pluck him up.
With Triple-A Scranton in 2013, he hit .261 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs, and 39 RBIs in 84 games. He also was 13-of-15 in stolen base attempts.
The strikeouts are a concern, as he has struck out at least 112 times a season since 2009. In the last two seasons, he has committed just one error each in the outfield to go along with a combined 12 assists.
Mesa can be a five tool outfielder and is still young. There is definitely potential still there. I just do not know what the Royals are going to do with another outfielder.