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Royals Rumblings - News for August 20, 2015

Ben Zobrist is pretty good at playing baseball.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for August 20, 2015

David Lesky at Pine Tar Press says its time for the Royals to admit a sunk cost and cut ties with Alex Rios.

I think it’s really important to figure out right field right now, and I think the answer is most definitely not Rios. Why the urgency? In case you didn’t know, Alex Gordon is coming back soon. That means Ben Zobrist is going to have to find a new regular position since he’s been playing mostly left field in Gordon’s absence. It’s easy to see that he’ll slide to the right side at either second base or right field, but it’d be great if he could play where he feels the best, and that’s second base. The problem is that if the Royals aren’t willing to move away from Rios right now, they might be more inclined to put Zobrist in right field when Gordon comes back because Infante’s defensive contributions at least give him some positive attributes.

The reality is that the Royals have a chance to upgrade at both second base and right field if they utilize their internal options in right field to allow them to just put Zobrist at second base and help fill the two biggest holes on the team rather than just one. They just have to realize that Rios is a sunk cost and move on.

John Viril at Kings of Kauffman notes the Royals have been inspired by Ben Zobrist's plate discipline.

Could something that I want to call, "The Ben Zobrist Effect" actually be occurring?

For the season, the KC Royals have posted a mere 5.9% walk rate—which is the lowest in the major leagues. However. halfway through August, the team is suddenly taking walks 7.9% of their plate appearances, which is 10th in major league baseball for the month. A big part of that jump is due to Zobrist alone. He’s drawn 8 walks in 55 plate appearances in August, out of the 41 total walks drawn by the Kansas City City Royals during the month. Yet, if we strip away Ben Zobrist, the rest of the lineup is still drawing walks at a much-improved 7.1% rate (I did the math myself).

Frank White revisits the Brett Lawrie slide and says Alcides Escobar may have created his own problems.

"I think sometimes, as middle infielders, we can create our own problems by how we set up on the base. Escobar being a shortstop, he was caught up on the second base side. And then it becomes footwork. So, if you’re a base runner coming into second base to break up the double play, you look for the left foot to be on the bag." The left foot being on the bag is a sign, in other words, that the infielder thinks there’s a play at first base. Here’s Frank again: "But if the fielder switches to his right foot, taking a position like he’s a first baseman, now you know you’re just trying to get one out. So now they’re going into the base to be safe. But what Escobar did, when he had his left foot on the base, he stretches with his right foot, and when his right foot hit the ground it just locked himself in. He couldn’t move."

Ryan Fagan at The Sporting News looks at the 1977 Royals, the only team in franchise history to win 100....for now.

The 1977 team ran off one of the most impressive extended stretches in baseball history — from Aug. 17 through Sept. 25, the Royals won 35 of 39 games. Seriously. "The team was full of confidence coming into that year because we’d finally dethroned Oakland in ’76, but we lost to the Yankees (in the ALCS)," said staff ace Dennis Leonard, who had a 3.04 ERA, 20 wins, 21 complete games and five shutouts that season. "As a team, there was a lot of maturity that came about. But there’s no way you can predict winning that many games. It just happens."

In his chat session, Andy McCullough doubts Kyle Zimmer gets a callup this September.

The Kansas City Baseball Vault podcast looks at fellow American League contenders.

Dave O at Clubhouse Conversation talks to former Royals outfielder Shane Costa in his latest podcast.

Former Royals pitcher David Cone talks to David Laurila at Fangraphs on pitching.

The Dodgers pick up second baseman Chase Utley.

Baseball fever is growing in Montreal with hopes of a new team.

Dave Dombrowski may be inheriting a team in need of a makeover.

Umpires are actually not as blind as they used to be.

Jon Bois updates us on the Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles.

Robert Mays at Grantland looks at some potential NFL breakout candidates.

ESPN did a "30 for 30: Short" on former Chiefs running back Joe Delaney who died tragically trying to rescue three children from drowning.

Forbes values Sporting Kansas City at $165 million.

A British MP is one of the first big names to come out of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal, but she insists her email address was used without her knowledge.

"Straight Outta Compton" got a lot of the sports apparel of the era wrong, does it matter?

An independent candidate named "Deez Nutz" is polling at 8-9% in the Presidential race in selected race. Too bad he (she?) doesn't exist.

Bad Lip Reading" takes on the Republican debates.

Your song of the day is Boston with "Rock and Roll Band".