Roster Rumblings

Finally! It’s a cornucopia of Royals roster moves!

Eh. Not really. It’s more about subtle shifts in the teutonic plates before the big shakeup that’s looming on the horizion.

Still, in the early darkness of winter, it’s something to talk (and write) about. Onward.

The Royals Sign Mike Morin To A One Year Deal

As noted in this space last week, Morin, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career, was a tender decision for the Royals. While MLB Trade Rumors estimated a contract in the neighborhood of $700,000, he went with a split contract that calls for him to earn $750,000 in the majors and $250,000 in the minors. It’s speculation on my part, but the above estimate dollar amount may have been the carrot for the split contract stick.

The Royals Non-Tender Terrance Gore

Gore was out of options, which meant he would need to take up residence on the 25 man roster all summer, or the Royals would run the risk of losing him on a waiver claim. It also meant they would need to pay a major league salary to a player with one tool. Chalk this up to good business sense.

The club then immediately turned around and signed Gore to a minor league deal, keeping him in the organization. If somehow by the grace of the baseball gods, the Royals are in contention in the late summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gore and his speed back in Kansas City for a stretch run. The move meant the Royals 40 man roster was set at 37.

The Royals Sign Yefri del Rosario

Rosario was part of the group of 12 minor leaguers set free by Major League Baseball as punishment to the Atlanta Braves for violating the rules of their international signings. The deal cost the Royals $650,000 in International bonus money, which they will apply to next year’s pool. This year’s pool is capped at $300,000 per signing.

(Seriously, these international rules are so convoluted. The NBA salary cap is easier to understand.)

Del Rosario was ranked as the fourth best prospect of the group of 12. He has a live fastball that sits in the low to mid-90 mph range and can be dialed up to 97 on occasion. The curve plays, too. He made two appearances in the Dominican Summer league last year before moving to the Braves Gulf Coast League affiliate. Overall, he threw 37 innings, walked 14 and whiffed 36.

Oh, then there’s this.

He turned 18 last September, so he’s a ways from the big leagues, but he immediately shot up the chart as everyone’s prospect to watch.

The Royals Sign Wily Peralta To A One Year Deal

Believe it or not, there are different kinds of depth. There’s depth, there’s deep depth and then there’s the abyss. Let’s see if we can figure where Peralta is on this scale.

Peralta’s best year came in 2014 when he nearly reached 200 innings for the Brewers. He finished that campaign with a 2.8 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 and a 4.41 DRA. Mix it all together and he was worth 1.0 WARP. He’s declined in value in each succeeding year, bottoming out last summer when, after a brief exile to the bullpen, the Brewers DFA’d him. He cleared waivers and ended up with their Triple-A team where things didn’t go much better. In 16 innings he posted a 5.6 BB/9 and a similar 5.6 K/9.

The Royals are viewing him as a piece to the bullpen puzzle. Or maybe he’s rotation depth. The fastball averaged 95 mph and is complimented by a slider that can have some bite. Maybe if he junks the change and the curve (which he pretty much did when exiled to the pen last summer) and leans on the fastball/slider combo, he can figure something out. Color me skeptical on any kind of rotation impact.

Peralta will make $1.5 million next year with a club option for 2019. There are a couple things to unpack here about how the Royals view Peralta. One, there’s no mutual option, so the right-hander lacks any kind of leverage in the market because there is basically no deferral of money. As we know, the Royals use the lure of the mutual option as a way to spread money over the life of the contract. Two, the buyout on his $3 million option for 2019 is just $25,000. Basically, the Royals have very low expectations for Peralta sticking the entire year in Kansas City.

Let’s mark Peralta down as “deep depth.” Hey, there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal.

Mike Minor Bids Farewell

They said the market for Minor was robust and the left-hander would be one of the first pitchers off the market. They (whomever these strangers are) were correct. Reports on Monday had Minor signing with the Rangers. Terms have not yet been disclosed.

It was a helluva journey for Minor in Kansas City. Injured when signed, the Royals hoped he could build back to contribute in 2016. Setbacks prevented that from happening. But 2017 went just fine, thank you very much. He found some velocity on the fastball (touching 97 mph) and threw 77 innings over 65 appearances in his first big league action since 2014. With a robust 10.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, he finished with a 2.0 WARP, leading all relievers. By the end of the season, he was filling the closer role with aplomb.

Reports have Minor in the mix for the Rangers rotation. The past shoulder problems and the long road back to the majors would make him a risk on any kind of multiyear deal. The Royals wanted him back for sure, but it’s likely they weren’t able to match the length of the contract he landed from Texas.

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