Royals Rumblings - News for November 5, 2015
At ESPN, Rany Jazayerli writes about what the Royals championship means to him.
They are a testament to the value of building from within and being patient with your best young players. A year ago, Moustakas was sent to the minor leagues and Hosmer hit .270 with nine homers as a first baseman. Gordon was a bust before he became the best left fielder in baseball. If the Royals had given up on any of them, they wouldn't be where they are today. Four years ago, when the Royals had the best farm system anyone had ever seen, many predicted that they would win the World Series in 2015. No one predicted that the road from there to here would be quite this rocky, but give credit to the Royals for never going off-road.
They are a testament to the power of coaching and advance scouting, two generally overlooked areas in which the Royals do as well as any team. First-base coach Rusty Kuntz is practically a legend in Kansas City because of his ability to coach baserunning and outfield defense and, OK, because his name is awesome. Third-base coach Mike Jirschele made the right call when he didn't send Gordon against the Giants last year, and he made the right call when he did send Cain against the Blue Jays this year. How often does a third-base coach become a national name for not making a mistake? The Royals' advance scouts tipped the players off to the fact that David Price would telegraph his changeup, and that Jose Bautista always throws to second base on a hit down the right-field line, and that Lucas Duda's throws sail.
And they are a testament to the fact that sometimes even bad things happen for a good reason.
How about we look at one more table, where we average each team’s DRS and UZR figures? So the sample goes back to 330.
First place, and first place by 42 runs. In fourth place: many of these same Royals players. I do understand that shifts do funny things to this data, and that’s increasingly been a problem as shifting has proliferated. I can’t make you any promises. But this does pass my own personal smell test. The Royals have kept many of the same players together. Many of those players appear to be defensively talented. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the team defense has looked good, and remained good. Three years running, this has been a team strength, with the Royals having had arguably the very best three-year defensive window we have on record. The record doesn’t even cover a decade and a half, so, oh well, but there’s still been a lot of baseball that we’ve measured. In the field, the Royals appear to have dominated other teams. You can talk about their bullpen, and you can talk about their contact hitting, but if it weren’t for the defense, the Royals never would’ve gotten as far as they did.
Alex Gordon declined his option, will he return?
The Royals would like to re-sign Gordon. Gordon would like to remain a Royal. The only thing standing between both sides finding a happy resolution is a contract larger than the Royals have ever before granted in free agency. The market for Gordon is expected to be sizable, with teams such as Baltimore, Boston and Houston, among plenty of others, speculated as possible landing spots.
Gordon could command a five-year contract worth as much as $20 million per season, according to rival executives. The Royals would prefer a shorter deal, in deference to both Gordon’s age (he turns 32 next season) and the rising costs of teammates Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. Team officials have suggested it will be up to ownership to decide if Gordon is worth the expense.
AJ Cassavell at Sports on Earth looks at the Royals defining moment, their comeback against Houston.
Freeze that moment in time. Right then, Kansas City's win expectancy stood at just two percent. In other words: There was a 98 percent chance the Royals would be packing their bags that afternoon, as just another ballclub that wasn't quite good enough. And yet, three weeks removed from that moment, here's where we stand: The Royals have captured their first World Series in 30 years, and they're every ounce a deserving champion. How, exactly, did we get here from there? Well, it took a miracle at Minute Maid Park -- a miracle that should soon be immortalized in baseball lore, given everything that happened afterward.
Only one eventual champion in Major League history has come closer to elimination than these Royals. The 1986 Mets faced a one percent win expectancy in Game 6 of the World Series after Keith Hernandez flied out to center field for the second out in the bottom of the 10th. After three singles, a wild pitch and Bill Buckner's error, the Mets won that game -- and, eventually, the Fall Classic.
Joe Sparacio rates Johnny Cueto's World Series Game 2 performance as the second-best pitching performance in the post-season.
Will Leitch imagines if the 2015 Royals took on the 2004 Red Sox.
In a podcast, Rob Neyer and C.J. Nitkowski reflect on the world champion Royals.
The 2015 Royals were sensations off the field too, writes Lisa Gutierrez.
Terry Collins will return to the Mets on a two-year contract unless Matt Harvey talks him out of it.
Viva el Birdos writes the Royals won with the philosophies of former manager Whitey Herzog.
The Mets Twitter account doesn't understand its fans' pain.
Grant Brisbee ranks the top 40 potential free agents.
Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake criticize the practice of the Department of Defense paying sports teams to do patriotic displays.
In their legal brief, the Washington Redskins cite some pretty ridiculous offensive trademarks to defend their ridiculous offensive trademark.
The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the grandest structures of ancient Greece, could be reborn.
How automakers invented the crime of "jaywalking."
Helping people cheat in online courses can be a lucrative business.
Reddit is getting into the documentary business.
Nick Hornby talks about a "High Fidelity" sequel.
Your song of the day is Eels with "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues."