You know, in a way I don’t want the baseball season to end because I obviously love baseball. I wouldn’t be writing here and on Twitter and all that talking baseball if I didn’t. I’d be in favor of a 45-game World Series this season just to keep the game rolling for as long as possible (and to wear out the Indians for next season). But in another way, I’m just ready for it to end so we can get to the stuff where the Royals are actually doing things again. It’s kind of crazy how fast you get used to the playoffs because it just feels off to me that the Royals aren’t involved. I’m sure many feel the same as I do.
- I still think Cheslor Cuthbert is on the trading block. Reports came out that he looked “solid” at second base during instructs, which is kind of a nice thing to see. And then you realize that it seems much of his work was done on the side so there isn’t much in the way of scouts getting to see him in action. I guess it could go both ways here, but I really think that’s posturing to make him appear more versatile in a deal. The reason it could go the other way is they could have put him out at second base in the eye of the public and put him through some drills that even a guy who likely can’t play second base couldn’t fail. But that’s kind of a longshot. With Cuthbert out of options and Moustakas coming back, I’m not saying they’re definitely going to trade the guy, but talking up his versatility that nobody can really verify seems like they’re at least putting him out there, and I think that’s smart. I’ve had in my head a deal with Cuthbert to the Giants for Eduardo Nunez and maybe another piece. I’m not sure if that’s light or heavy or where it is for Cuthbert, but for some reason, that’s been floating around since the end of the season. I know Nunez is a guy the Royals like, so maybe that’s where it came from.
- News came out on Wednesday that Kyle Zimmer had completed his four-week throwing session following thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and that he’d be ready to go for spring training. On one hand, I’m incredibly optimistic that the Royals finally found what it was that was ailing him and now he can finally harness his full potential and be a quality starter for the Royals as soon as 2017. On the other hand, Zimmer threw 5.2 innings in 2016. He threw 64 innings in 2015. You have to go back to 2013 when he threw 108.1 innings to find a respectable innings total for him since being drafted in 2012. He’s thrown 222.1 minor league innings since July 13, 2012. With the caveat that this could change after surgery, if Zimmer is healthy, I think he’s likely one of the four best starters for the big league club in 2017. But that’s just it. It’s always an “if” with him. This isn’t any new information, but the Royals just cannot count on him at any point moving forward. But what that does is it puts them and the fans in a pretty quality situation because the Royals know they can’t count on him so they’re going to proceed without him at the top of their plans. And, in turn, that means there’s no disappointment, only optimism. If Zimmer is healthy, I’m confident he will contribute. I can’t imagine many teams have a guy like that who is nearly a guarantee to be a positive if he’s on the field and if he’s not, there was nothing expected of him. So there’s the positive.
- This World Series, in the early going at least, is shaping up like the 2014 series. That one, you might recall, went seven games. Any series that goes seven games is likely going to be thought of as one of the better World Series to be played just by sheer volume. And yet, if you think back to that series, it wasn’t actually all that competitive game to game. In game one, the Royals lost by six. In game two, they won by five. Game three was a very good game that came down to the last pitch, but then the Royals lost by seven in game in four and by five in game five. And then the Royals won by 10 in game six! Of course, game seven being a classic battle helps to make the series great. Anyway, I think we’re kind of heading there with this series, and I’m not sure it’s going to change because I really hate the matchup for the Indians in game three with Josh Tomlin against Kyle Hendricks. Of course, it’s baseball, so you never know what’ll happen, but unless the wind is gusting in at Wrigley (and it could be), I just think the Cubs are going to tee off on Tomlin and Hendricks will be his usual self. I think there’s a pretty good chance we see this series go six or seven games, but I’m wondering if we’ll be lucky to see even the two competitive games we saw in 2014.
- It’s pretty bold to make a prediction about the 2017 team in October 28, but I’m going to do it anyway because that’s just how I roll. But I am going to put a caveat on this prediction because it is October 28. If the Royals can either re-sign Kendrys Morales or can pick up someone else with similar power, they will break their team single season home run record next year. That record was set in 1987 when they hit 168 homers. Yes, that’s the team record. No, that’s not surprising that it’s that low. But here’s why I think they will. Let’s assume Morales is on the team because it’s easier to use him than a hypothetical player we don’t know about yet. The Royals will have five players who I think will hit 20 or more home runs in 2017 and one more who I think could. Morales, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez seem like the guys who will do it. Perez, Morales and Hosmer did in 2016 and Gordon and Moustakas almost definitely would have with a full season. I’m thinking something like 22 for Perez, 28 for Morales, 22 for Gordon, 30 for Moustakas and 25 for Hosmer. That alone is 127. I feel like if Lorenzo Cain is healthy, he’ll get 15-20. Let’s call it 15 to be safe. Now they need 27 homers from the rest of the rest of the roster. If Escobar can hit seven and Merrifield can hit five, they’ll basically have about 1,100 plate appearances to hit an additional 15. It’s a tall task, but I’m saying they’ll do it. And I apologize in advance for when they hit 103 as a team.
- We had a conversation in the BP Kansas City headquarters the other day that somehow led us to Jeff George. Yes, the quarterback. We talked about him as a bust, and while I agreed whole heartedly that he is and was a bust, I wondered if he was one of the best busts of all time. So that got me to thinking about who the best bust in Royals history was. You could argue Christian Colon despite getting the hit that ultimately won the World Series. You could argue Luke Hochevar despite his postseason heroics that included getting the win after two scoreless inning in game five of the World Series. I think you could argue Clint Hurdle, a career .276/.353/.432 hitter with the Royals. Who else? I’m curious what others think here. I wasn’t around for the early days of the Royals, so maybe I’m completely missing someone who is obvious.