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Royals Rumblings - News for June 16, 2015

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Milwaukee is Algonquin for "the good land."

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Royals Rumblings - News for June 16, 2015

Despite Omar Infante's All-Star status, the Royals could seek an upgrade at second base.

Rival executives and talent evaluators expect the Royals to at least inquire about infielders through trades in the next six weeks. The market is thin. The Royals could pursue Oakland’s super-utility star Ben Zobrist, but the list of Zobrist’s suitors will be lengthy. Philadelphia may listen to offers for former All-Star Chase Utley, but he entered Monday hitting .184. Utley can also veto any trade, as can Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips.

Jeff Sullivan at "Just a Bit Outside" looks at contenders that could use the biggest position upgrade via a trade.

Royals rotation

The Royals rank in the bottom 10 in rotation ERA, rotation FIP and rotation xFIP. They're actually in last in rotation xFIP, and the projections, obviously, aren't fans. It helps to have that bullpen and it helps to have that defense, but this is still a flaw, as the Royals haven't found a replacement for James Shields. Yordano Ventura continues to be puzzlingly easy to hit (and injury-prone), and you don't want to end up in a situation where you're depending on Edinson Volquez. Good news: Danny Duffy is coming back. Good news: Kris Medlen might be available before long. But you also don't want to rely too heavily on pitchers who've been recently sidelined. The Royals wouldn't get involved in a Cole Hamels sweepstakes. They'd be unlikely to pony up for Johnny Cueto. But maybe they could do better than Aaron Harang. Scott Kazmir might loom as one option. Maybe even Jeff Samardzija, if the White Sox keep on not hitting. Pitching is going to be out there.

Craig Brown at Royals Authority is tired of the lineup Ned Yost is trotting out there.

Which brings me to another point: Yost has to address his lineup. Not in a week, a la Bobby Cox. Today. We are at a critical point in the Royals offensive struggles. It’s not so much about shaking things up. It’s about righting a wrong. Let’s start at leadoff. Escobar has to go. He is hitting .255/.285/.341. Unacceptable for a leadoff hitter. The only team that has gotten worse production out of the top of their order is Oakland. If you go by OPS+, the Royals have actually been the worst team in the AL at the leadoff spot. You simply cannot have October thoughts and have Escobar leading off. I understand he was the guy at the top of the order for September and October. Spare me the arguments for keeping him at leadoff. That was six weeks in a six year career. The Royals got lucky with Escobar at the end of last year. Luck tends to run out.

Due to Yordano Ventura's injury, there was rotation-shuffling this week.

Joe Blanton will pitch in Ventura’s place against the Brewers. Manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland felt Ventura would benefit from the added rest.

"If you’ve got the opportunity to back him up two days, you just go ahead and do that," Yost said before his team faced the Brewers at Miller Park. "You don’t try to push it."

Lee Judge gives instruction on the most important skill needed to play for the Royals - how to bunt.

And as long as we’re talking about moving around in the box, here are the four things Rusty teaches to help hitters get bunts down:

1.) Move up in the box

2.) Close your stance

3.) Hold the bat at eye level

4.) Get a soft, early bounce

Moving up in the box helps bunted balls stay fair; you’re closer to fair territory and that means a ball that would have rolled just foul if you were back in the box stays fair if you’re up in the box.

Joe Posnanski is a bit jealous he left town before the Royals got good.

"Why didn’t I get this? I went through 15 years of some real bad baseball," he told KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date. But not to worry, Posnanski has always had faith in this town — even when people thought it couldn’t get worse for the Royals.

"Even during that stretch, this town still had this baseball heartbeat," he said. "I would tell people all the time, ‘This team gets good, and Kansas City will again be as great a baseball town as there is in the country,’ and I think that’s what we’re seeing now."

Royals All-Star fever has spread to the minor leagues with eight Northwest Arkansas Naturals going to the Texas League All-Star Game: infielders Balbino Fuenmayor, Angel Franco, Raul Mondesi, Alex Liddi, outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, Terrance Gore, designated hitter Mike Bianucci, and pitcher J.C. Sulbaran.

Kyle Zimmer is fine! For now.

The Padres fired manager Bud Black, who once pitched for the Royals.

The Mets designated pitcher Dillon Gee for assignment. The Royals expressed interest in the right-hander this past off-season.

Tampa Bay is using new technologies to study pitching mechanics, but will it measure The Will to Win?

Grant Brisbee reminds us that pre-arbitration contract extensions can still be risky.

Are the Red Sox pretty much screwed?

Brian Kenny argues that FIP may no longer be as predictive as once thought.

MLB.TV is running a Father's Day sale for 50% off the rest of the season.

The Rangers celebrated "Korean Night" by having sideline reporter Jim Knox break a board over his head.

The Chicago Blackhawks are again your Stanley Cup champions.

Johnny Manziel was at WWE Raw, being called "idiot face."

It turns out Nazi indoctrination was really, really effective.

Should Apple kill the Mac?

The robot we sent into space last year finally landed on its comet.

"Final Fantasy VII" is finally going to happen.

The Grantland staff ranks the "Game of Thrones" season finale cliffhangers.

Your song of the day is Alice Cooper with "Feed My Frankenstein"