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Royals Rumblings - News for November 25, 2015

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Thanks, readers.

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Royals Rumblings - News for November 25, 2015

The Nationals are interested in Ben Zobrist, but he is not a "top priority".

The Nationals have interest in free agent veteran utility man Ben Zobrist, according to people familiar with the situation. Zobrist isn’t believed to a top priority but the Nationals have long been interested in the versatile player. Zobrist, 34, could still command a formidable multi-year deal despite his age. Zobrist, a switch-hitter, is intriguing because he could bring a left-handed bat to the Nationals’ right-handed heavy lineup. His preferred position is second base and his presence, through the ripple effects, could fortify the bench. He could also play left field, as he did for the Royals last season, when needed. Zobrist, who made $7.5 million in 2015, also played some right field and third base this season.

David Lesky at Pine Tar Press says its time for Royals prospects to begin stepping up.

As good as I think they can be, if they want to win a championship again, they’re likely going to need to make more moves at the trade deadline. In order to do that, players are going to need to step up and be more than unrealized talent.

While some of these players have been deemed untouchable by the organization, there are still a few players who come to mind. Mondesi is eventually going to have to hit. Zimmer is going to have to stay healthy. Almonte is going to have to actually put up results. Starling is going to have to show that he could even be a .240/.310/.430 hitter at the big league level (that probably makes him a 4-win player with his defense). Dozier is going to have to hit above A-ball. Russell and Watson just need to grow. There’s countless others I could mention, but you get the idea.

It’s not just about making trades, but filling roster spots. Guys like Brett Eibner and Cheslor Cuthbert need to build on their 2015 seasons because they might be the right fielder and third baseman on the 2018 Royals. Zimmer will be called upon to play a big role before that, and Mondesi very easily could be. But that’s the obvious need for prospects to get better.

A reader at Fangraphs makes the case that Eric Hosmer is the most clutch hitter in the league.

Since his debut season in 2011, Hosmer has a cumulative clutch rating of 5.49 while the league average has been -0.38 according to fangraphs.com. The second-highest in that time span? Jacoby Ellsbury at 4.41, over a full point away. To this point in his career, Hosmer has a cumulative clutch rating that ranks 22nd in baseball history. He is ahead of legends such as Ken Griffey (5.35), Rickey Henderson (4.91), and fellow Royal George Brett (4.79). His 2015 campaign that yielded a clutch rating of 2.17 was one of the top 100 greatest clutch seasons ever recorded (tied for 63rd). Although there is no way to prove Hosmer will remain a clutch hitter, he is currently on pace to smash the all-time highest career clutch rating set by Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn (9.49).

So what makes Eric Hosmer clutch at the young age of 26? His high baseball IQ. He is constantly aware of the situation and knows what he has to do to produce runs for his team.

This is a fantastic long-form, three-part piece about Jairo Munoz, a pitcher the Royals signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2011, who got a second chance with the Phillies.

He was also, before long, a father. Days after the Royals cut Muñoz, his wife, Nicole, gave birth to their daughter, Jairanni. What should have been an occasion for joy was instead a catalyst for anxiety. Muñoz's P1 non-immigrant visa — which allowed him to reside in the United States while he was participating in athletic competition — was scheduled to expire on Dec.31, 2014. But once the Royals, having been his employer and immigration sponsor, released him, Muñoz was "present in the United States without authorization," immigration attorney Jonathan Grode said. It was likely that the U.S. government, if it learned of Muñoz's situation, would determine that he had violated the terms of his visa and deport him.

As Muñoz's sponsor, the Royals were responsible for paying for his transportation back to the Dominican Republic. Once he returned home, the likelihood that another major-league organization would sign him was virtually nonexistent.

J.J. Cooper at Baseball America has his Rule 5 preview up, including names like Royals minor leaguers Balbino Fuenmayor, Sam Selman, and Yunior Marte.

Going back to his days at Vanderbilt, Selman has always had a great arm and inconsistent control. A full-time move to the bullpen hasn’t helped fix that issue. Selman held lefthanded hitters to a .211 batting average this year, but it’s hard to project him as a reliable lefty reliever when he allowed a .400 on-base percentage to those same lefties because he allows so many walks. Selman still has an excellent arm but he’s never stitched together three straight months of even fringe-average control.

MLB is close to agreeing to games in London in 2017, seems like the Royals would be a perfect fit for the UK.

Former Royals broadcaster Bob Davis will retire from his broadcasting duties with the University of Kansas this season.

Tim Lincecum is pitching well and will showcase his talents for teams in January.

Just how bad have the Detroit Tigers been at drafting lately?

The Braves and Giants are having trade talks around Shelby Miller and Joe Panik.

The Red Sox are "all in" on free agent David Price.

Korean outfielder Ah Seep Son received no bids from MLB teams, and will stay in Asia.

The Marlins fire popular long-time TV analyst Tommy Hutton.

The Browns bench Johnny Manziel for partying.

Rodger Sherman breaks down one of the coolest trick plays in football, the fake punt return.

Army ants act like an algorithm to make deliveries easier.

Female meteorologists are all wearing the same $23 dress.

A rap musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is a huge success. Oh, that tired trope again?

Rocky Balboa is back.

Your song of the day is Robert Plant and Jimmy Page with "Thank You." Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.