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Royals Rumblings - News for February 20, 2015

Would you have swapped Sean Manaea for Justin Upton?

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for February 20, 2015

Dayton Moore talks with  Andy McCullough about the upcoming season and looks forward to the season.

One of the things that we wanted to make sure we did is maintain our strengths. Keeping the bullpen together, making the defense remains strong. With (Luke Hochevar) and (Jason Frasor), and some of the other competitions we have in the bullpen. And obviously keeping (Greg Holland) and (Kelvin) Herrera and Wade (Davis) makes us, perhaps, even stronger.

"And then, with Alex Rios as the addition in right field, we feel like the outfield defense is obviously spectacular, but maybe even better now. I think that was important for us. The success of our team is predicated on our main players, the guy that we entered 2014 with, continuing to produce. We believe that they’re all capable of having better years in ’15 as compared to ’14. We feel like we’re better."

Peter Gammons says the Braves wanted Sean Manaea in return for Justin Upton.

Then, too, keep an eye on Sean Manaea. He would have been one of the top picks in the 2013 draft out of Indiana State, but a labrum issue in his hip dropped him. The Royals took a chance, gave him a hearty bonus and in his last 10 starts on the A level had a 1.45 ERA. He is a beast in the Carlos Rodon mold, a talent so good the Braves offered Justin Upton for Manaea before doing the Padres trade. Come August, Manaea could be a factor out of the pen or in the rotation.

Speaking of Manaea, he made Baseball America's Top 100 prospect list, as did three other Royals.

The Royals added pitching depth, signing left-handed veteran Franklin Morales.

Paul Casella at Sports on Earth identifies Lorenzo Cain as a regression candidate in 2015.

While one can point to BABIP as an indicator of potential regression for Gordon and Harrison, Cain is the poster child for it. He had a staggering .380 BABIP for the Royals last season, the highest such mark for any player with at least 500 plate appearances. That led, in part, to Cain hitting .301/.339/.412 with 29 doubles and 28 stolen bases -- a big step forward after hitting just .251 with 21 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 2013, his only other Major League season in which he played more than 100 games.

Though Cain can once again be expected to have an above-average BABIP, thanks to his plus speed and bat control, note that his BABIP totals in 2012 and 2013 were just .319 and .309, respectively. Steamer even projects him to have a .330 BABIP this season, but it still predicts his slash line to drop significantly across the board to .267/.315/.377. Cain, of course, also established himself as an elite defender last season -- especially during the postseason on a national stage -- and the highlight-reel plays should continue in 2015.

Jeffrey Flanagan writes it was worth it to pay the money to keep HDH together in the pen for another year.

"It is a position of strength for our ballclub. There is a certain way we are built to win games, and those guys are a big part of it. If you weaken it, there's no guarantee you can replace what you've taken away. It's not easy."

Indeed, the Royals in 2014 were a team that frequently reduced games to six- or seven-inning affairs, which was quite an advantage for manager Ned Yost. "If you get a lead by the sixth, your mind starts thinking about putting the other team away," Yost said. The Royals were almost perfect with the lead after seven innings, and they went an astonishing 72-1.

You can audition to be part of "Royals Fans Got Talent" on March 14. I don't think eating pop-tarts qualifies as a talent.

You can watch former Royals reliever Robinson Tejada play baseball this summer in Joplin, Missouri.

Jay-Z thought David Wells was Curt Schilling.

Why did a 1966 Astros program have a bear being fed LSD?

Here is your coverage of the NFL Combine.

Here is your NBA Trade Deadline tracker.

Jon Bois says goodbye to his former employer, Radio Shack.

Did Google X steal a famous architect's life work?

Martin Luther is the fastest selling Playmobil figure of all-time?

Andy Greenwald has his midseason TV All-stars.

TBS is speeding up "Seinfeld" reruns to fit more commercials in. Why won't they do the same for baseball?

Your first teaser trailer for the final episode of "Mad Men."

Joe Reid at Slate ranks all 60 movies up for an award at the Oscars.

2015 Oscar nominees in embarrassing early roles.

Your song of the day is Living Colour with "Cult of Personality."