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Royals Rumblings - News for April 2, 2015

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So long, Surprise.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for April 2, 2015

The Royals depart Arizona with a tie with the Dodgers, but still have some roster decisions to make, and seem uncertain which direction to go.

The prime issue appears to be the fate of veteran reliever Ryan Madson, who has pitched a strong camp in his first evidence of health since Tommy John surgery in 2012. He can opt out of his minor-league contract if another organization offers him a major-league deal. Yost and others with the Royals would prefer Madson spends more time building arm strength in the minors. Madson seeks a major-league opportunity.

The Royals must decide whether to risk losing Madson, the former Phillies closer, if they carry the usual number of bench players. The team is still debating among Paulo Orlando, Moises Sierra or Whit Merrifield for that final spot. Yost appears to prefer that route, rather than carrying Madson.

Were you upset the Royals released Rafael Furcal? Fear not, he's back! Twas merely a procedural move.

Andy McCullough profiles the man with the million dollar haircut, coach Rusty Kuntz.

"Oh, player!"

His catchphrase is ubiquitous. His players sample his accent, the blend of a boy raised in Wichita and California’s Central Coast. This spring Dyson bought Kuntz a T-shirt that read "WHAT UP PLAYER." Kuntz squeezed into the medium-sized garment and strutted around his pupils. His ability to communicate with his players is unparalleled, his superiors say. And his optimism acts as a contagion, his players say. They can sense his investment in them, how "he doesn’t want to see anyone fail," Dyson said. His enthusiasm for extra work never lags. He never looks downtrodden.

"I’ve never seen him have a bad day," Cain said. "Ever."

Kuntz will be grooming Mitch Maier, who you may see coaching some at home games.

Clark Fosler at Royals Authority looks at who might be the heroes and goats of the Royals 2015 season.

I really like Alcides Escobar. I also sense that the ZiPS projection of .270/.301/.356 is painfully close to optimistic. Given what Escobar can do in the field and, when he actually gets on, what he does running the bases, Alcides does not need to be a monster at the plate to be valuable. That said, the Royals’ shortstop is just one season removed from a painful 2013 where he posted a .259 on-base percentage. Even Mike Moustakas thinks that is a bad season.

Although Escobar has posted a line drive percentage of 23% or greater in each of the past three years, his BABIP has fluctuated from .344 to .264 to .326. With his BABIP, so goes Escobar’s on-base percentage. This is the guy who is going to be getting the most plate appearances on the team for at least the first few weeks of the season and likely beyond.

Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland are named in Sports Illustrated's All-MLB team.

The Royals rank 29th in starting pitcher projections, according to Fangraphs.

Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern of "Bizarre Foods" will introduce a new line of dishes at Kauffman Stadium, which makes sense considering they found cockroaches there last fall.

Brandon Decker at Beyond the Boxscore looks at how Luke Hochevar could be key for the Royals this year.

Former Royals pitcher Aaron Crow will have Tommy John surgeryand will miss the entire season.

Vox.com explores why baseball games are taking longer than ever.

The Mets' Juan Lagares signs a $20 million contract extension based largely on his defense, which may bode well for Alex Gordon.

Kris Bryant's Strat-o-Matic card is ridiculous.

Gregg Marshall is staying at Wichita State for a boatload of money.

RIP Bitcoin Bowl.

McDonald's is giving its employees a raise, but its vacation plan may be a bigger deal.

New "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah responds to criticism of his poor taste in jokes.

The Verge looks at the best April Fool's Day pranks from yesterday.

Does the new show "Playing Younger" expose Hollywood's double standards for female actresses?

Your song of the day is Kings of Leon with "Arizona."