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Royals Rumblings - News for July 17, 2015

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YAY! BASEBALL IS BACK!

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for July 17, 2015

Andy McCullough reports the Royals have some tough decisions to make about the rotation soon.

And then, of course, there is the trade market, where the Royals are expected to be active. The team has shown interest in Reds ace Johnny Cueto, according to rival executives, but they are also expected to pursue almost all the available pitchers on the market, including even White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija will start the first game on Friday for Chicago. Many in the Royals clubhouse consider him a loathsome figure, a player who antagonized them from Oakland’s bench during last year’s Wild Card Game and played a substantial role in the fireworks between the Royals and the White Sox in April. The front office may have a more charitable view of Samardzija, especially if it believes the Royals’ defense can improve his 4.03 ERA.

Andy points out that Kris Medlen will need to be added to the roster by Monday.

Dayton Moore continues to confound the projections.

"I'm not really smart. I'm not. But I'm a believer in players," Moore explained. "We knew those guys are winners. I can't predict what their numbers will be, but everyone we bring in, we expect them to help us win." Therein lies perhaps the biggest change in Kansas City: Winning is expected. No longer do fans turn up to waste away a lazy summer evening. No longer do they count the days until Arrowhead Stadium comes alive across the parking lot with the start of the NFL season.

"I'll say I never dreamt of this. You just do everything you can each and every day to improve your organization," Moore said. "But then again, in our business, accomplishments have no bearing on future success."

But now the projections have us favored so now I don't know what to believe.

Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe predicts Johnny Cueto going to the Royals will be a major second half story.

The second half of that prediction isn't such a reach, as the defending AL champions own the league's best record (52–34) and largest division lead (4 1/2 games). But after coming within one win of a championship last year, the Royals are quite rightly hungry for more. Though the loss of Alex Gordon to a groin strain is a serious one, particularly with rightfielder Alex Rios under-producing as well, Kansas City's bigger need is in the rotation. The unit's 4.32 ERA ranks 12th in the league, its 6.0 strikeouts per nine is just a hair above dead last, and the only ERAs below 4.10 among the starting five belong to reclamation projects Chris Young (3.00) and Edinson Volquez (3.79).

With no obvious choice to take the ball in a series opener, the Royals are among the teams aggressively pursuing pending free agent Cueto. Trading for him won't be painless, but given that this team is in better position to win now relative to the Astros, who also covet Cueto, bet on general manager Dayton Moore to bite the bullet to acquire an ace.

Anthony Castrovince thinks Alex Rios could be a big second-half X-factor.

Jarrod Dyson is Alex Gordon's replacement in the Royals' lineup until further notice in the trade market, but Rios is the corner outfielder with more offensive potential as the AL Central leaders try to make do without one of their best bats. The hope is that the broken left hand Rios suffered in April didn't totally wreck his season, because he was raking before that point and since his return he's, um, not raking (.220 average, .500 OPS). Rios could be another guy rounding into form at the right time. He's 12-for-38 with a couple of doubles in July. That's not spectacular, but it's something. And this Royals team needs that sort of something, because it's going to be awfully difficult (not to mention costly) to add a bat in this trade market.

Tony Blengino looks at first-half "contact scores" and praises Chris Young while panning Omar Infante.

3 – Omar Infante – 64 – Your almost All Star second baseman has been trending down awhile now. Infante is struggling despite a career-best liner percentile rank of 86, because of an upward bump in his previously minuscule K rate, and an overall BIP authority percentile rank of 4. His quiet fade is likely to intensify.

Old friend Jason Frasor, released by the Royals a few weeks ago, has signed with the Braves.

I guess we know now why Kacie McDonnell was single for Eric Hosmer. Welcome to TMZ: Kansas City edition.

Zack Greinke is one of many pitchers who rely on advanced stats.

Did Ryne Sandberg quit the Phillies because the players openly disrespected him?

Grant Brisbee thinks Royals-Cubs is the most exciting potential World Series matchup.

Rany Jazayerli writes how A.J. Preller destroyed the Padres in just a few months.

Here is all your British Open coverage.

The 2010 Jayhawks football team is one of the worst college football teams of the last decade.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says many teams are losing money, which HAHAHA, sorry couldn't keep it together, that was a good one.

Did Sea World have a spy infiltrate PETA for three years?

Here are your 2015 Emmy nominations.

Comic-Con is changing quite a bit - what's in its future?

Netflix is increasing prices.

People have fun lampooning Amazon Prime Day's disappointing sales.

Your song of the day is Walk the Moon with "Anna Sun."