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Royals Rumblings - News for March 25, 2015

BREAKING: Royals fans will pay money to see successful team.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for March 25, 2015

The Sports Illustrated cover boys get previewed by Jay Jaffe, who expects regression in Kansas City.

Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain were Kansas City's only regulars to produce an OPS+ north of 100 last year, and the only additions to the lineup from the outside—Rios (99 OPS+) and designated hitter Kendrys Morales (75 OPS+)—were subpar themselves amid injuries. There's no guarantee both of those thirtysomethings bounce back, and the same can be said for second baseman Omar Infante, whose 76 OPS+ was dreadful as well. The loss of Shields' 227 innings of 3.21 ERA ball won't easily be absorbed by Duffy and newcomers Edinson Volquez and Chris Young, and lightning can't possibly strike again to the same extent that it did with the late-game trio, all of whom delivered ERAs below 2.00 (more on which below). Plus, it's not like the rest of the AL Central stood still; the other four teams in the division each received higher grades than the Royals in our Winter Report Cards series.

Andy McCullough writes that left-handed pitcher and Wichita State alum Brian Flynn is making an impression in camp.

"He’s primarily been a starter," general manager Dayton Moore said. "And some of our people felt he could perhaps be an impact reliever as well. So we’re still evaluating what role is best going forward. But he’s made a great impression thus far with our major-league team."

Clark Fosler at Royals Authority looks at how the Royals might round out their bench.

In the end, the entire discussion about the bench and it being three guys or four, really comes down to how Yost wants to use Jarrod Dyson. If the Royals were hellbent on roster flexibility, they likely would opt to keep Ryan Roberts, who has played some outfield in addition to his usual infield roles (although not much short, by the way), but that they are thinking the fourth bench spot will be possessed by an outfielder tells me they want the freedom to use Dyson more often.

In particular, they want to pinch-run Dyson for Kendrys Morales – likely any time Morales gets on base after the sixth inning. In reality, Yost should really use Dyson to run not just for Morales, but also Moustakas and Infante as well (yes, Perez, but refer to the above and just accept it). We can speculate all we want about how to really, REALLY, utilize the bench, but when the real games start and Ned Yost is in command, bench utilization comes down to when and if to insert Jarrod Dyson into a contest as a pinch-runner. That is your entire Kansas City Royals bench equation.

The Royals place fireballing reliever Jandel Gustave on waivers. The Rule 5 pick was a long-shot to stick on the roster all season.

Rob Neyer gives three reasons to watch the Royals this year.

Can anyone reasonably expect Holland or Davis or Herrera --€“ let alone all three of them --€“ to pitch as well this year? No. So maybe this item is really about watching two things: how much the H-D-H combo regresses, and which KC relievers (if any) pick up the slack.

This looks like a weak division, so we shouldn'€™t be shocked if the Royals do return to the playoffs. We also shouldn'€™t be shocked if they finish fourth.

In another piece, he says to hell with the projections. Enjoy the game.

My point is that different methodology will give you different results, and historically one hasn't been appreciably more predictive than the others. Which is why, as much as I enjoy the numbers, I'm more than happy to see how things actually play out. And as always, I love a good surprise.

Mentioned in that piece is Paul Besshire's "Prediction Machine" which gives the Royals a 51% chance of making the playoffs.

The Royals are a hot ticket now, with the ticket office claiming a 35 percent increase in season ticket sales since last year.

Fox Sports Kansas City airs its first Royals game tonight, at 8 p.m. (CT) against the Mariners. REX IS BACK!

Fangraphs ranks the Royals 20th in the league in WAR from the second base position this year.

If/when Infante misses time, the Royals will likely turn to the 26-year-old fringy Christian Colon. At the bottom of this depth chart, you’ll find Rafael Furcal and Ryan Roberts, who combine for 71 years of life on this planet of Earth, and also 59 total MLB appearances in 2014. So that’s all you need to know about that.

The Royals have signed infielder Ramon Castro to a minor league deal. The 35-year old spent last year in the independent Atlantic League, but was originally signed by the Braves.

Again, here's the gofundme site for Jimmy Faseler's medical recovery costs.

The Yankees re-create a scene from the movie "The Sandlot."

The rival Twins sign infielder Brian Dozier to a four-year contract.

The Dodgers sign Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to a six-year $62.5 million contract.

Grant Brisbee tries to build a team out of the worst contracts in baseball.

With final cuts just around the corner, Fox Sports' C.J. Nitkowski writes about the anxiety of cut day from a player perspective.

Jack Moore of Vice Sports writes how MLB profits from player addictions.

Fivethirtyeight writes that Michigan State's Tom Izzo is by far the best NCAA Tournament coach in modern history.

Slate.com explains the game of cricket to Americans.

Steven Hyden of Grantland asks if Will Ferrell's career is in decline.

The story behind the "Diversity Day" episode of "The Office" that really put the show on the map.

Is a live-action "Star Wars" TV show in the works?

James Corden of "The Late Late Show" and Tom Hanks re-enact Tom's entire film career in eight minutes.

Who needs the news anymore? "We have Facebook!

Your song of the day is Noah and the Whale with "Five Years Time."