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Royals Rumblings - News for December 7, 2015

To Nashville we go.

Rusty Russell/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for December 7, 2015

Peter Keating of ESPN writes that the Royals are the new "Moneyball" team.

The bottom line: Despite all the talk about the Royals' old-school, go-for-broke offense, Kansas City scored 724 runs this year, just 14 more than the AL average. And it's scoring -- not contact or aggressiveness or intangibles -- that wins games. Even if we credit the Royals for smart or timely hitting (and we should -- they scored 32 percent of their runners who reached base, the fourth-highest rate in MLB), their offense simply wasn't championship level. Their pitching wasn't so hot either. KC starters ranked 12th in the AL with a 4.32 FIP, a measure designed to separate pitching performance from defense and scaled to resemble ERA. As a staff, the Royals ranked sixth in the AL with a 4.04 FIP, behind teams such as the Indians, White Sox and Rays -- none of whom won more than 81 games. SO WITH ALL those decidedly average stats, exactly how did Kansas City win the World Series? By assembling undervalued players to form a devastating weapon: defense.

The Zobrist decision should come this week.

It sounds like the Royals and Chris Young are very close to a deal.

Jon Heyman reports the Angels and Orioles have shown interest in Alex Gordon.

Craig Brown likes the idea of the Royals going after Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez, non-tendered last week.

The Royals, as you know, have had success on reclamation projects, but the shoulder is a different animal than the elbow. Alvarez is a useful starter if he’s healthy and he would be affordable, too. For the Marlins to cut him loose makes me think they’re skeptical he will be able to pitch effectively. Although we can’t discount the idea that the Marlins are just kind of insane.

Anyway, Alvarez is the kind of pitcher who fits the Royals philosophy – a strike-thrower with a high contact rate who keeps the ball in the yard. In fact, Alvarez is something of a ground ball machine, getting the old worm-burner on 55 percent of balls put in play in his career. With the Royals starting infield set to return – sorry, not talking about Zobrist here. Second base belongs to Omar Infante – you certainly know about their ability to turn grounders into outs. It could be a decent fit, provided the shoulder is sound. That’s far from a guarantee.

Jeremy Guthrie approved of the Jeff Samardzija deal.

Buster Olney ranks Salvador Perez as the fifth-best catcher in baseball and says the Royals want to retain the core.

Meanwhile, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas will be under the Royals' control for at least two more seasons before they're scheduled to become eligible for free agency in the fall of 2017. Shortstop Alcides Escobar could be a free agent at that same time if the Royals exercise a team option after next season. But Kansas City's front office is not planning as if the window of opportunity for this group of players will end after a couple of more years. Rather, Kansas City's plan is to try to keep Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain and Escobar, as well as their All-Star catcher, and to keep the success moving forward. Hosmer and Moustakas are represented by Scott Boras, who typically takes his clients into free agency, but just as the Royals plowed ahead and drafted those two players when other teams passed because they are Boras clients, the K.C. front office is undaunted, sources say. The Royals will try to make it work, and hold this group together.

Olney also ranks Wade Davis as the best reliever in baseball.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe speculates on a ton of trades for the Red Sox, including a swap of Luke Hochevar and a prospect for pitcher Clay Buchholz.

This is a pretty impressive historical evaluation of General Managers based on their trades, and former Royals manager Cedric Tallis comes out pretty good.

Royals FanFest will now have timed entry.

Royals Charities teams with Variety KC to build a playground in Olathe.

Josh Donaldson will be on the cover of "MLB 16: The Show".

The Dodgers sign pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and could be acquiring Aroldis Chapman.

Jonathan Papelbon files a grievance against the Nationals for failing to pay him during his suspension.

MLB revenues go up again and could hit $9.5 billion for the year.

An unnamed player sought a waiver from the league drug policy to treat his "man boobs."

Here are your college football playoff and bowl matchups.

The FBI is investigating FIFA head Sepp Blatt in a $100 million bribery case.

We have no bananas today.

Recent scientific claims about the genome of the invincible water bear are beginning to unravel.

look back at TV holiday specials from Judy Garland to Pee Wee Herman.

Your song of the day is The Tragically Hip with "It Can't Be Nashville Every Night." (NSFW, language)