We’re somewhere between two and five days away from there being no more baseball to watch, which is both sad and also sort of refreshing. Once this silly little World Series comes to a close, there might actually be something worth talking about for the teams who aren’t a part of this postseason. I personally am sick and tired of these postseasons without the Royals. It doesn’t take long to grow accustomed to a certain lifestyle of stressfully watching playoff baseball. Sadly, I fear it might be a little while again before we experience that in Kansas City.
- One topic that I found especially interesting this week was talking about the corner infielders in an article by Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. You should click the link and read the article if you haven’t, but the basic idea is that if Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas leave as free agents that Hunter Dozier will play a big role in replacing one of them. I’m not sure why I’ve been a believer in Hunter Dozier for as long as I have, but his injury riddled 2017 season didn’t stop me from being on his bandwagon. I guess a .296/.366/.533 2016 season didn’t hurt. And this season, even though he wasn’t healthy for long, he continued to flash some very good power. I don’t think he’s a star, and that’s okay, but I do think he can at least replace Hosmer’s .285/.342/.436 line from 2013 through 2016. He’s likely to be a little raw at first base as he’s only played a handful of games over there, but he’s a good enough defensive third baseman that I think he can handle first once he gets comfortable. The side note here is that the Royals have really liked Cheslor Cuthbert’s work at first and he hasn’t exactly been a top notch defender at third, so it may play out that Dozier ends up at third with Cuthbert at first. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if both are going to be in the lineup, but I just found it very interesting that the organization seems to be higher on Dozier than most.
- I really hope the Braves situation resolves itself soon. It sounds like the MLB investigation into their issues will be concluded soon, so maybe that’ll speed things along. They need to either hire Dayton Moore away from the Royals or hire someone else so the Royals can figure out their direction. I know all the details of what Moore has said and hasn’t said, but until he’s either with the Braves or someone else is, this isn’t going to go away. It’s just one in a long line of stories that we don’t even know where to begin. Based on what’s been said regarding the pending free agents, the Royals don’t even seem to be sure what direction they’d like to go to start the offseason. And if it all hinges on whether or not Hosmer decides to stay in Kansas City or leave for likely greener pastures, there may not be a direction until December. From a personal standpoint, that’s not good for finding things to write about, but from a baseball standpoint, it’s even worse. I have a hunch that the Royals have a bigger plan than they’ve let on with the public. They always do. But even so, this much uncertainty is not good heading into a pivotal offseason for the near future of this franchise.
- Here are two facts. The Gold Glove award is kind of silly. I really want the Royals to always win all the Gold Gloves. I know they’re dumb. I know they’re mostly a popularity contest (though metrics now actually play a role in them). And yet, I still love them. Maybe it’s the baseball fan kid in me speaking up, but whatever. Rawlings announced the “finalists” for the awards yesterday on Twitter. I say that in quotes because the winner is already decided. The three who they announce have just finished first through third in the voting. It’ll probably be no surprise to you that the Royals finalists are Salvador Perez, Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. Now, we talked last week about Perez’s defense being substandard, and a lot of that comes from his inability to frame. But he has a great reputation and a fantastic arm, so a lot of times, that gets ignored, especially at the catcher position. He’ll probably win because that’s just how it works with the Gold Glove. Hosmer is up against Carlos Santana and Mitch Moreland, both of whom were better by FRAA than Hosmer. I think Hosmer’s ability is somewhere between the metrics and his reputation and I think Moreland is probably a little better than him. He even won the award over him last year. My guess is Hosmer takes it home this year. In left, Brett Gardner should have the inside track over Gordon, who while still very good, just isn’t the defender anymore that Gardner is. Cain somehow hasn’t been a finalist in years and won’t win this year because Byron Buxton is insane, but it’s good to be nominated, I guess. So my bet is two Gold Gloves for the Royals this year.
- I mentioned the waiting game with Hosmer and the other free agents, but I’m starting to wonder if the Royals really do have a shot to bring him back. The Yankees have been adamant about getting under the luxury tax and they’re happy with Greg Bird. The Red Sox have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Giancarlo Stanton, and if they get him, I’m not sure even with their deep pockets that they’d have a fit for Hosmer. If both those teams are out of the running, the Royals are on close enough financial footing with the other competitors that maybe it could happen. I still think their best bet is to look elsewhere, and Colby talked about the dubious history of long-term deals for first basemen earlier this week, but my early thought on the market is that maybe it could work out for the Royals with Hosmer. Of course, free agency is a weird, weird world. You never know when the Texas Rangers are going to offer Alex Rodriguez $252 million, so things can change fast.