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Royals Rumblings - News for December 17, 2014

The Royals are just trying to lock up the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year award.

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for December 17, 2014

Sam Mellinger writes about whether winning has made Kansas City a more attractive free agent market.

I assume that if the offers were the same, Ervin Santana would rather pitch in Kansas City, with a big ballpark and a great outfield defense and teammates he knows, than Minnesota. I’m less sure about Melky Cabrera, and not just because the White Sox play in a stadium with high school dimensions, but I would think he has good vibes from his time in Kansas City.

But I don’t know where all the examples are of guys taking less money to play somewhere. At times, people want to point to these long-term extensions that have been done so many times. And it’s true that players know they’re agreeing to take less than open market value, but they’re doing it in exchange for the security of having that money NOW, when their opportunity to hit the open market is still a year or more away.

So, really, both of these things are true: the Royals are a MUCH more attractive place for free agents than, say, four years ago. And: nine times out of 10, guys are going to sign the biggest contract.

Read more here:

Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs looks at whether Alex Rios is a guy who is worse than his numbers.

By signing Rios, the Royals are betting on a bounceback from the notoriously hit-and-miss player. It’s just a one-year deal and they have contingencies like Jarrod Dyson and others ready to take over if Rios’ bat truly slowed down and his career is mostly over, not just waning. As Dave notes over and again, teams are paying a premium for these kinds of plug-ins, risking little in the long term but coughing up more for a low-ceiling lottery ticket.

Unfortunately for the Royals, our projection systems don’t care about perceptions. They don’t think of Rios as undervalued because of historic inabilities to produce when it matters. They forecast him as a 1 WAR outfielder, an aging player without much power and slowing legs to drag down his defensive contributions. Basically the same guy that sleepwalked through his final season in Texas, in other words.

David Lesky at Pine Tar Press is not a fan of the Rios signing.

So why do I think Rios is such a bad gamble? For one, you may have heard that he’s 34. In life, that’s quite young. In baseball, that’s not so young these days. A lot of people are struggling to make the conversion of what is good and bad offensively in a new era, but something else to consider is that aging curves appear to have returned back to normal with improved drug testing. Long held beliefs regarding peak years are back to being true. 34 is firmly on the wrong side of the aging curve. There are exceptions, of course, but hitters who struggle in their age 33 season don’t provide much promise for the next year. When you add in that he was able to only hit four home runs and slug under .400 in one of the more hitter friendly parks in the league, that lends itself to some very legitimate concern.

If you could guarantee the same .280/.311/.398 line Rios put up last season, that might be okay if he offered excellent defense and base running. Sadly, though, he does not.

Hunter Samuels at Kings of Kauffman wonders if Rios will be in a platoon.

After all, even in Rios’ down year, he still was very good against left-handed pitching, with a 142 wRC+. He’s got quite a bit of value as the short side of a platoon, so the Royals likely see that would as his floor in 2015. Jarrod Dyson has been slightly better against righties than Rios has been in the last couple of years, meaning the Royals could use a platoon to get the most value from each player. That is, of course, if they think Dyson can handle playing so often.

I think the Royals are skeptical of that, and even though I’m a big Dyson fan, I’m also somewhat skeptical of that. We’ll have to see what the organization says when they announce the deal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have Rios in right field almost every day.

Your newest Royals player....Kendrys Morales.

Blair Kerkhoff takes a look around the off-season moves of American League Central teams, and it makes you feel pretty good about the Royals.

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs updates Royals Review commenter Scott McKinney's study on prospect valuation.

Our ALDS buddy Kevin Jepsen gets shipped to the Rays for outfielder Matt Joyce.

It has been an interesting off-season already. Grant Brisbee looks at five surprising aggressive teams this winter.

In case you missed it, our own Tyler Drenon wrote an article for Hardball Times about whether or not we should care that free agents are getting overpaid.

The sad saga of former Major League pitcher Brad Halsey and his demise either through tragic accident or suicide.

Are these the six most charming bars in Kansas City?

Steven Hyden at Grantland looks at the best in music in 2014.

"The Nightly Show" with Larry Wilmore, the show replacing "The Colbert Report" runs its first promo.

The best C-Span caller ever: "Oh god, its mom."

Your song of the day is Big Audio Dynamite with "Rush."