Royals Rumblings - News for November 6, 2015
Sam Mellinger thinks we may have seen the last of Alex Gordon in a Royals uniform after hearing Dayton Moore.
"We don't want to put ourselves in compromising positions," he said. "We don't want to be vulnerable going forward where we don't have flexibility. We don't want to end up as one of those organizations that's made foolish decisions or signed players to overly aggressive contracts, which I've done in the past. I've learned from that." When Moore talks about "overly aggressive contracts," he means more in terms of length than size....
He turns 32 in February, and even going into last offseason, team officials mentioned wanting to massage their roster in a way to lessen the stress on Gordon's body. He played only 104 games last year, slowed by a wrist injury in the spring and a groin injury in the summer. Rival scouts notice less speed around the bases, and less ground covered in the outfield. He is still a very good player, but time takes its toll on all professional athletes.
Dayton Moore and Ned Yost, both of whom are signed only through 2016, expect to get contract extensions this winter.
"I think it’ll get handled," Moore said. "I want to be here for a long time. I want Ned here for a long time. But Ned and I, we have not even discussed our situations."
The Royals made a Qualifying Offer to Alex Gordon. The minimum offer is $15.8 million. Gordon is expected to turn it down, but the two sides can still negotiate a contract. Making a Qualifying Offer is necessary to receive draft pick compensation should Gordon leave.
The Royals also, to no surprise, picked up the options on Wade Davis and Alcides Escobar.
Rob Neyer writes about Dayton Moore's patience, using an excerpt from Dayton's book on how he handled Zack Greinke.
We moved slowly with Zack in 2007. [Pitching coach Bob McClure] felt it'd be good to get Zack in the bullpen so he could come to the park expecting to pitch every day. I wasn't excited about that because we needed starters, and if God put anyone on this earth to be a starting pitcher, it's Zack Greinke. But I trusted Bob McClure, and he was right on with his plan. We transitioned him back to the rotation late in 2007, and he was ready in 2008. He was ready in 2008, he won the Cy Young Award in 2009 ... and then the Royals traded him to the Brewers after the 2010 season ... even though Greinke had the contractual ability to veto a trade to the Brewers. So why did Greinke join the Brewers?
"I called Zack," Moore writes, "and started talking to him about Milwaukee and how it'd be a great place to play... We had a great 45-minute conversation that night. He called me back a couple of days later and said that he'd be willing to go to Milwaukee."
Does everything turn out differently if Moore hadn't taken such care with Greinke in the prior years? Maybe, but maybe not. And if not, Moore's not able to trade Greinke for Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain (and Jake Odorizzi, who wound up moving to the Rays in another blockbuster deal).
Clark Fosler at Royals Authority notes the improvements made by Dayton Moore and Ned Yost.
Not only did this group of athletes change and not only did their general manager change, but so did Ned Yost. Do I want Ned Yost designing the rocket that will take me to Mars? I do not. Do I want him managing my baseball team? I do.
Would the Yost of a few years back have sent Kelvin Herrera out for a third inning in a World Series game? Would he have used his close for multiple innings? Go back to the early days of Yost and tell me if he would have routinely benched a veteran like Alex Rios for a defensive replacement in the seventh inning. Yost’s team got better and that makes any manager look better, but I believe Ned himself got better, too.
Oh yea, Ned Yost got to talk to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Ned on a congratulatory call from @POTUS: 'He was so excited for KC. He loved the way we played & said how fun of a team we were to watch.'— Royals (@Royals) November 5, 2015
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs predicts where the top 50 free agents will go.
The World Champs are going to get a huge infusion of revenues from their postseason run, and while they’ll never be the Yankees or the Dodgers, Dayton Moore should have some money to spend this winter. Given the expected increases in cashflows over the next few years, I’m betting they’ll re-sign Alex Gordon, even though I have him costing $92 million over four years. And with Johnny Cueto departing, they’ll clearly need another starting pitcher, so I’m penciling them in for a mid-tier starter like Yovani Gallardo at the mid-tier price of $56 million over four years.
Cliff Corcoron previews the off-season for the AL Central teams.
In the outfield, there seems to be mutual interest in a reunion with Gordon, which would be ideal. In rightfield, a platoon of lefty-hitting Jarrod Dyson and righty Paulo Orlando would be an upgrade over Rios, and former first-round pick Reymond Fuentes could be another in-house option. The team probably can't afford to sign free-agent outfielder Jason Heyward, but Denard Span, Gerardo Parra and Will Venable are all cost-efficient options who would fit the Royals' playing style...
Danny Duffy pitched well in relief during the postseason, but he may be needed in the rotation, as Cueto is likely to be too expensive for Kansas City to re-sign; a second-tier free-agent starter such as Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir or Mike Leake would be a better fit financially. If Duffy does return to the rotation, the Royals need a lefty for the bullpen; Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo are the top free agent options there.
August Fagerstrom at Fangraphs evaluates the Gold Glove award finalists.
Pujols’ spot as a finalist was instead given to Eric Hosmer, who has won the last two Gold Gloves, though has typically graded as an average defensive first baseman. Teixeira or Napoli are probably better choices, but Hosmer does deserve credit for playing 500 innings more than any of our three finalists here, and the spread of the defensive impact at first base is slim enough to where it’s probably not worth quibbling over.
Coach Rusty Kuntz's future is up in the air.
Royals haven't decided on Rusty Kuntz's role with the team for 2016. Kuntz wants to rove in the minors. Team wants him on big-league staff.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) November 5, 2015
Denny Matthews deferred to Ryan Lefebvre for the final call on the World Series.
Denny tells us Ryan Lefevbre asked if he wanted to call the bottom of the 12th inning so he'd have the final call and he declined.— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) November 5, 2015
Blogger Zach Finley tries to reconcile the Royals success with analytics.
The best explanation of why the model didn’t work was that the game of baseball was beginning to change, and the Royals were in fact at the forefront of that change. Rather than seeking to build a powerful offense or dominating starting pitching staff, the Royals had invested in building a great defense and a historically dominant bullpen. Teams had never really competed in this way before, and thus PECOTA, having been built off of empirical data, couldn’t properly value the Royals capabilities. That’s not to say that the Royals strategy was inherently good or bad, it’s just that it was different and new, and thus difficult to handicap.
I like that explanation quite a bit, not least because it suggests that there is still room for innovation in baseball. Innovation is critical for a small market team like the Royals to compete; if they follow the same strategy that every other team is pursuing, then they have a heightened exposure to competing on the basis of their payroll, and that’s inherently a losing proposition. At its core that’s really what Moneyball was all about — finding more value in certain parts of the game than other teams recognize, like having a deep and dominant bullpen, and then over-investing in those assets.
The Royals have been great for business, says sports paraphernalia maker Majestic.
In Fanposts, jakefish_4 gives his off-season plan for the Royals. Would $85 million land Alex Gordon?
Branch Ricky has his off-season wishlist as well. Ian Kennedy or Brett Anderson might be interesting.
San Diego resident MR37 appreciates Kansas City's spirit.
Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer revealed some superstitions while backstage of "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."
Hank Aaron headlines a gala for the Negro League Baseball Museum on Saturday in Kansas City.
We have our first big trade of the off-season with the Rays getting Logan Morrison and Brad "the next Ben Zobrist" Miller for Nate Karns in a six-player trade.
Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey are your Comeback Players of the Year.
Buster Olney looks at teams that should be better in 2016.
Long-time third baseman Aramis Ramirez has retired.
Jonathan Luman at Hardball Times asks if high-scoring games are making a comeback.
The Detroit Lions are pretty much firing everyone.
Here is your college basketball preview of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Why did Amazon open a real life store?
Can an algorithm prove you won't quit your next job?
Lorenzo Cain may have cost Taco Bell $10 million.
I am taking a hiatus next week from the Rumblings, but you'll be in good hands with the Kevins. Have a great weekend!
Your song of the day is Bill Withers with "Lovely Day."