I’m exhausted. It’s only mid-June and we’ve already been through a 12-6 start, followed by a 3-11 stretch, followed by a 15-5 stretch, followed by an eight game losing streak, followed by the current 5-1 stretch. Add it all up and the recent six games is the difference with the Royals now four games over .500 and just a half game out in the AL Central. I have a hunch things aren’t going to quiet down from this point and just be smooth sailing the rest of the way either. Remember in 2013 when I coined the Royalcoaster? The ride is back and it’s bumpier than ever.
- The biggest news of the week is that the Royals finally recognized the sunk cost that was Omar Infante. I guess they recognized it earlier with leaving him out of the lineup for so long, but they officially ended the relationship by designating him for assignment on Wednesday. In doing so, the Royals decided to eat roughly $14.7 million, which I believe is more money than they’ve ever eaten before. As a side note, why did that phrase come into existence? Eating money? Come on. As I said on Twitter, it’s nice that the new Royals continue to make moves that make sense on the field rather than in the checkbook. You could argue that the Royals are paying Infante’s contract whether he’s on the team or off, but by DFAing him, they are paying out a little extra money because that roster spot isn’t filled for free. Plus, the Royals of old would have likely run him out there to see if he could get hot and garner some trade value, which wouldn’t have happened and then we’d have all ended up right back here but probably having lost an extra game or two because of his presence. There were a couple great highlights for Infante in his short, but too long, tenure with the Royals, but ultimately this was the right decision and anyone who would argue that is a little bit on the crazy side.
- There was a slideshow in the Sporting News ranking the worst fielders at every position in 2016. At first base was a familiar name – Eric Hosmer. Yes, that same Eric Hosmer who has won three straight Gold Gloves (as stupid as they can be, they’ve gotten a little better) and who is touted as one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball by all who watch the game. Personally, I thought Hosmer was overrated for awhile, but I felt like his defense caught up to his reputation last season. Forgive my language here, but to say Hosmer is the worst first baseman in the game is bull honky. The slideshow states that his UZR/150 is low as is his DRS. Fair criticisms. But here’s the problem with defensive metrics – there’s far too much noise this early in a season to use them as gospel when determining who is and isn’t good. I will say that I’ve seen Hosmer not make a couple plays he usually makes over there at first, but he’s definitely not the worst. It’s actually been discussed on the broadcasts that he’s been trying to break in a new glove, so maybe that’s one of his issues, but heading into last night’s game, he trailed only Chris Davis in scoops by a first baseman in all of baseball. Saving infielders errors has to count for something, right? Not in UZR/150. If you click that slideshow, you have my permission to think it’s a load of you know what.
- I wrote about the Royals roster getting interesting with decisions to make with Brett Eibner and Alex Gordon coming back. As expected, Reymond Fuentes was demoted to make room for Eibner prior to last night’s game, but now we wonder who goes for Gordon since Infante isn’t there to DFA anymore. I really don’t think this makes the possibility of a Kendrys Morales DFA any stronger. Rather I think the Royals would be likely to demote one of Brian Flynn or Peter Moylan when Gordon returns. They’re currently working with 13 pitchers and don’t need to keep that many up all season long. The real question now becomes what they do with Kris Medlen, who made his first rehab start on Wednesday night and went two innings without walking a batter. The easy answer is that he comes back just after the break and replaces whichever pitcher doesn’t go for Gordon, but by then, we could be talking about Morales watch, so stay tuned.
- It was inevitable that Danny Duffy would finally have a start that wasn’t all that great, but I was actually encouraged by what he did last night, even with subpar results. It was pretty clear after the first inning that Duffy didn’t have the same command he’s had for most of his starts this season. And that’s okay. Pitchers fight their command and their stuff in more starts than many of us even realize. What was encouraging to me was that he still threw strikes (with the exception of to James McCann) and was still effective. He got hurt by the home run ball, which is common these days for Royals starters, but even with that, he allowed just three runs on four hits while walking two. If that’s what Duffy brings to the table when he doesn’t have it, I’ll definitely take that.
- I usually keep things about the Royals here, but with Father’s Day on Sunday, I wanted to share a quick couple memories that I’ve been lucky enough to share with my dad. They’re Royals-related, so it’ll work out well. My dad and I go to a lot of games together, but I’ve shared two of the coolest memories in Royals history with him. I’ve been lucky enough to see the Royals win the American League pennant with him in the seat next to me for each of the last two seasons. We’ve seen Mike Moustakas fire to Eric Hosmer to cement that pennant two years in a row, which I think is pretty darn cool. If you’ve been reading me for awhile, you know that I never really stood a chance. I was always going to be a baseball fan, and that’s because of both of my parents, but I just think it’s really cool that I’ve gotten to share that with my dad the last two. Hopefully we can make it three years in a row this season. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and happy…umm…weekend to those who aren’t.