Royals Rumblings - News for July 30, 2015
Rany Jazayerli loves the Zobrist deal because of the insurance it provides.
Zobrist not only helps the Royals in an ideal-world setting, he also provides insurance in a worst-case-scenario world. Last year, the 89-win Royals swept the 98-win Angels in the ALDS, and it wasn’t as big of an upset as those win totals would indicate, because the Angels won 98 games in large part due to Garrett Richards, who was having a no. 1-starter type of season before gruesomely dislocating his patella on a fielding play in August. The Royals are trying to avoid being this year’s Angels: the dominant regular-season team that gets waxed in the playoffs in part because it was missing one of its key contributors.
Having dodged a bullet when Gordon collapsed on the warning track on July 8 — what many feared was a season-ending ACL tear turned out to be something less than that — the Royals are well aware of how vulnerable they are to an injury to almost any of their position players. An injury to someone like Escobar or Moustakas would be devastating, as the team simply doesn’t have much in the way of backup options. Zobrist, who has started at every position except pitcher and catcher, provides the kind of versatility that gives the Royals the best insurance plan available on the open market.
Clark Fosler addresses some of the concerns in the Ben Zobrist deal.
Now, there has been a little bit of angst about these deals in the land of Royal. Some of it, I think, stemming from the fact that this fanbase had been beaten down for so many years that we may simply not believe we get to have nice things. There is also some of the ‘well, I’m no follower’ in finding a reason not to be excited about a trade that is seen as a tremendous positive by the vast majority of the fanbase and, quite honestly, the baseball world.
There is another couple of sentiments that go along the lines of the Royals have a good thing going, why do we want to disrupt it? In a similar vein, there is the Royals are almost certain to make the playoffs as it is and once there it is all really just a crapshoot, so why not save the prospects and roll with this unit?...
Let’s say the Royals, who I don’t think anyone can argue have improved their regular season team in the last week to the extent that they are virtual locks for the playoffs, end up facing the Astros in the first round. I don’t know (or care) what the actual percentages were, but for discussion purposes we will say Kansas City had a 54% chance of winning the series. If adding Cueto and Zobrist moved that needle to even just 57% I will take that action over the ‘playoffs are all luck’ approach.
Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs evaluates Sean Manaea.
Manaea has missed most of this year with groin and oblique injuries, the kind of soft tissue issues that when they start stacking up start to point to problem staying healthy. He’s flashed the same mid-rotation stuff for parts of his 31.2 innings this year, but the changeup still isn’t as consistent as it should be. At age-23 with two starts above A-Ball, Manaea is creeping into "take a waiver on an injury concern guy with upside" type guy than a "he’s a fast-track #3 starter with little more than normal pitcher risk." I spoke with a scout after the trade that said he’d move Manaea to the 70-100 area of a top 100 (he was 37th and a 55 FV before this season) and I have to move his FV down a notch to 50, which would slot him right around there.
Grant Brisbee writes that one game changed everything for the Royals.
This was the plan, this was always the plan, except for the one time Moore went out on a limb and traded his very best prospect for a starting pitcher. The rebuke was swift and loud, especially after it became clear that was pretty much the only move the team was going to make. And if the Shields trade netted the Royals one measly Wild Card game, it would have been natural for Moore and the Royals to crawl back into their comfortable shell. If Dyson doesn't steal third like a wild man, my hypothesis is that the Royals are still waiting around for the roster to come to them.
But Dyson did steal third, and he eventually scored the tying run in one of the greatest wins in Royals history. From there, they won 10 more games in the postseason, looking as dominant for stretches as any postseason team in recent memory. They took the momentum into the 2015 season, and they're a fully functional death machine right now. Including the postseason, the Royals are 101-61 in their last 162 games.
Andy McCullough says the Royals looked into David Price last weekend, but the Tigers weren't sellers at that time.
Lorenzo Cain reaffirms his BFF status with Salvy Perez.
The Dodgers get Mat Latos and Alex Wood in a three-team deal with the Braves and Marlins.
Texas gets Cole Hamels from Philly for six players.
Drew Storen doesn't seem thrilled about his team picking up Jonathan Papelbon.
Nathan Grow at Fangraphs looks at the uncertain scope of baseball's anti-trust exemption.
The Marlins played fart noises during batting practice because...they're the Marlins.
The story of Eric Berry's amazing recovery from cancer.
Bill Barnwell at Grantland has his all "bad contract team" for the NFL.
We may have wiped out half the world's wildlife over the last 40 years.
AT&T wants your smartphone to get FM radio.
How "National Lampoon's Vacation" went from a John Hughes short story to the comedy classic we know today.
Your song of the day is Fetty Wap with "Trap Queen."