Yep, still here. And so are the Royals, though you’d probably know that given the number of national articles written about how fast they’re going to be. I suppose we’ll find out in a few months whether it’s better to have an identity that doesn’t really help all that much or it’s better to meander through a season never really knowing who you are. I suppose the speed will help as they’ll maybe steal a win or two with it, pun intended. But ultimately, the key to the Royals success remains what it did before going out and signing all the stolen bases. They need to pitch better and they need Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler to build on their 2018 seasons, but do it over the full season. If those two are stars, the rest will fall into place.
- Since there hasn’t really been an avenue to do it, I haven’t talked about the Terrance Gore deal much. I love Gore. How could you not? But why are they giving him a big league deal? Gore stated a bit ago that he’d like to go to a team where he’ll have a chance to actually play and show that he can play. The dude is a career .239/.333/.273 hitter. In the minors. He’s a phenomenal weapon as a pinch runner, but he has no business on a big league roster for any length of time before September 1. And I hate saying that because of how much I love him, but that’s not a player in any need of a big league deal. Some argue the $350k he’d get on the minor league deal would be enough to both scare teams off from claiming him and would scare him off from declining the assignment to the minors and they might be right, but that seems like a lot of work. I mean, Rajai Davis who has actually hit before was available on a minor league deal. Look, if this is just Dayton Moore taking care of one of his own, then I’ll back down and admit I’m an idiot for caring this much, but if there’s really a thought that Gore is going to be an integral part of this roster, then I just don’t get it at all. Speed is great, but it only goes so far. If you do some quick roster math, you can see the roster crunch is very real. Salvador Perez, Cam Gallagher, Ryan O’Hearn, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier, Cheslor Cuthbert, Adalberto Mondesi, Chris Owings, Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton, Brett Phillips, Brian Goodwin, Jorge Soler, Jorge Bonifacio and Terrance Gore all have big league time. Of those, Dozier, Phillips and Bonifacio all have options and Cuthbert could easily be on the chopping block at any time. Even so, that’s 15 players for 12 spots. Things have a way of working themselves out, but I just continue to be perplexed by this offseason.
- Not to beat a dead horse (or sorry, PETA, feed a fed horse…so stupid), but the Daniel Descalso signing by the Cubs underscored my biggest issue with the Chris Owings signing. It’s not that they signed him. I’m not a fan of Owings, but I get the upside play on a guy who theoretically should be entering his prime. So I’m fine that they signed him. I still can’t figure out why in the you know what they had to sign him for $3 million. And then a player who is better than Owings signs for two years and $5 million. And before you say that Descalso doesn’t play shortstop, I still say that NEITHER DOES OWINGS! With Descalso, you have a player who made a conscious effort to alter his swing to produce better results. And it worked. So yeah, I’d have much preferred Descalso to Owings for that money because I think he could actually potentially start at third and be productive, but also just because I think he’s better. But regardless, that’s not my point. It just goes to show another example of Dayton Moore completely misreading the market. I know I shouldn’t be worked up over a one year deal for this little money, but what it represents just irks me and I can’t seem to get over it. And every time a comparable or better player signs for less money, I’m going to be annoyed.
- The Royals are still expected to throw a lot of reliever spaghetti against the wall at some point this offseason, but in order to do that, they likely have to wait at least a month before they start signing guys to minor league deals. I feel like they think they’re all set on lefties with Flynn, Tim Hill and possibilities of Eric Skoglund, Richard Lovelady and maybe even Danny Duffy back there, so to focus on some of the righties, some names to watch are Blake Wood (yes that Blake Wood), Jim Johnson, Brad Boxberger, Randall Delgado, Drew Hutchison and Carson Smith. There are others too, sure, but those are some names that I’m kind of focused on based on what the Royals tend to like in relievers. They like that past success at some point and they like guys they know, which is why Wood is in there. And before people get worried about 2018 redux, I am too, but the error they made last year was not in signing guys like Blaine Boyer and Justin Grimm, it was in sticking with them for too long. If the Royals went out and signed three or four of the above or just three or four random relievers, that’s great. Figure out what can stick. But if it’s as clear this year as it was last year that it wasn’t going to stick, they need to move on quickly. And I think they will this year as they seem to have some almost ready pieces in the minors in guys like the aforementioned Lovelady along with a project of their own in Josh Staumont and recently added to the 40-man Arnaldo Hernandez. I’m fine with getting them a little more development in the minors, but they’re there at the highest level, basically ready to take over when the reclamation projects stink, if they do.
- I mentioned last week that I’ll be writing Friday Notes until the site is done, which is coming soon, so keep an eye out for one more (I think? Hope?), but then I’m sort of a free agent. Yes, I’ll be writing at Baseball Prospectus and will be writing some Royals stuff there, but as I’ve already done, I’ll focus on some other teams around the game as well. The great thing about BP is it gives me an opportunity to keep writing while also looking for a forever home to write about the Royals. So yeah, that’s my elevator pitch. I’m not sure what the future holds for me right now in writing exclusively about the Royals, but I’m working on figuring that out now. And if this turns out to be it for me here at BP KC, I just want to say it’s been an absolute pleasure to bring you Royals content on this site for the last two and a half years. Thank you for reading and interacting and agreeing and disagreeing. It’s been a blast.