The rotation picture got a lot clearer this week. Between Luke Hochevar landing on the disabled list, Brad Penny getting released for punching a hole in the wall (and not being good at pitching), and today's news that Wade Davis is being demoted to the pen, the fifth spot in the rotation appears to be down to two men - Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura. Duffy has given up six runs in four innings thus far in the Cactus League, while Ventura has given up two runs in five innings.
Davis was acquired in the James Shields/Wil Myers deal with some asserting he could be the "key" to the deal. He was a huge disappointment last year, with a 5.32 ERA in 135 innings of work, mostly as a starting pitcher. He was excellent in 2012 for the Rays as a reliever, putting up a 2.43 ERA in 70 relief innings with 87 strikeouts, 29 walks, and just 48 hits allowed.
- In other news, the Blue Jays have reportedly signed former Royals pitcher Ervin Santana to a one-year $14 million deal which is pretty much exactly what the Royals offered him with a qualifying offer last fall. The Blue Jays will forfeit the 50th pick of the draft, while the Royals will receive the 29th pick in the draft as compensation for Santana (that will get pushed back to the 30th pick when/if Kendrys Morales signs with someone other than Seattle).
- In completely unsurprising news, James Shields was announced as the Opening Day starter. A 1-0 final score is a certainty. Jason Vargas will start the second game, followed by Jeremy Guthrie. Ned was non-committal on when Bruce Chen would start, but it is assumed he is the fourth starter.
- Omar Infante is still out with a sore shoulder. I'm scared. Hold me. He hopes to be back Monday.
- Louis Coleman makes his Cactus League debut today. He had been held out with bruised fingers.
- Bruce Chen wants a bonus for interpreting for Yordano Ventura.
- Ned talks about Luke's injury and the decision for him to get Tommy John surgery.
- Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus saw Royals pitching prospect Sean Manaea pitch in Arizona:
I only have two backfield looks at Sean Manaea, but it's clear that he is healthy and ready to explode as a prospect. Huge steal for #Royals— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) March 7, 2014
One last thing on Sean Manaea. We ranked him #78 on the BP 101. I wouldn't be shocked if he's 50 spots higher by mid-summer. #Royals— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) March 7, 2014
He has some more specific scouting reports in his Twitter feed.
- Former Royals Rick Ankiel has retired at the age of 34. Ankiel hit .261/.317/.467 in 101 plate appearances for the 2010 Royals before being dealt to Atlanta in the deal that netted us Tim Collins.
- Former Royals farmhand Blaine Hardy has impressed Tigers management as a LOOGY bullpen candidate. Hardy was a 22nd round pick by Dayton Moore in 2008 and generally put up good numbers for the Royals, getting as high as AAA before leaving as a minor league free agent in 2013.