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Royals Rumblings - News for September 4, 2015

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Is last night's game over yet?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for September 4, 2015

Rany Jazayerli writes about how we all should have trusted the process with Dayton Moore.

In the span of time that Moore has been a GM, every team in baseball has improved its understanding of the mechanics of the game. Every GM today is better at his job than he was in 2006. Being a successful GM requires showing a willingness to learn new information on the job and adapt your processes accordingly.

Which leads me, as someone who has obsessed over Moore’s job performance since he was hired, to posit the following hypothesis: We weren’t wrong to think Moore was a mediocre-at-best GM once upon a time; we were wrong to think he couldn’t get better. GMs, like players, don’t stop learning and improving once they reach The Show, and it would be as silly to think the Moore of today is no different from the Moore of 2006 as to think the same of Jose Bautista or Nelson Cruz. Every GM is better at his job today, and Moore has improved more than most.

The lineup may be changing before too long.

Anthony Castrovince rates the Ben Zobrist deal as one of the best trades this year, but is not as high on the Cueto deal.

The Royals acquired Cueto for the primary purpose of pitching them through October, and that could still very well happen. This is an elite arm, and it could be that what's gone on the last couple of weeks is a mere blip on the radar. Heck, he preceded his three-start stretch of struggles (8.47 ERA, 1.041 OPS against) with a three-start burst of brilliance (1.13 ERA, .551 OPS against), and, though you can't put a number on this, Cueto has been a valuable mentor to Yordano Ventura just in his short time with Kansas City.

Still, the level of concern associated with Cueto's last three starts has to be at least north of five on the scale of one to 10, doesn't it? There was some worry about him having two starts earlier this season in Cincinnati pushed back because of minor elbow concern. Is something sinister going on in his arm? Maybe it's a simple mechanical issue that KC pitching coach Dave Eiland can help iron out. Maybe -- and I sincerely doubt this one -- it's hard to be all that motivated when your club has an insurmountable edge in the AL Central standings.

All I know is that the stakes are high when a small-market club makes a move of this magnitude with the sole goal of winning the World Series. Johnny had better rebound by October.

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs looks at Johnny Cueto's struggles and isn't too worried.

There’s no single one thing. Absolutely, Cueto has missed some spots. Maybe a little more often than he used to. But it’s not like he’s walking anybody, and he’s always missed spots, especially if you just watch videos of the hits he’s allowed. His general location plots haven’t meaningfully changed. Lately, Cueto has faced some tougher opponents, which is difficult, and he’s allowed a bunch of hits on what you might consider to be pitchers’ pitches. Over three starts, batters have hit better out of the zone than within it. That’s weird, and that’s unsustainable. This seems like a classic case of "shit happens."

To some extent, Cueto probably misses the National League. He struck pitchers out basically half the time, and those don’t exist to him anymore. The American League is a little bit stronger. But it’s not so good that Cueto can’t cut it. Unless he actually is hurt, in some subtle way, Cueto ought to get right through this.

David Hill at Kings of Kauffman agrees its not time to panic about Cueto.

These struggles are something that every pitcher goes through. In his two starts on May 3rd and May 9th, Cueto allowed nine runs in 14.1 innings. In the two starts before his dominant final outing with the Reds, Cueto allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits and seven walks in nine innings. It just happens.

This does not change what Cueto is. He is a true top of the rotation starter, and one who can make the rotation better just by letting other pitchers fit in their natural slots.

Cheslor Cuthbert had a great evening filling in for Mike Moustakas on Wednesday.

The crowd inside Kauffman Stadium remained on its feet. The noise in the dugout hit a crescendo. One minute earlier, Cuthbert, a 22-year-old rookie, had raked a line-drive home run into the left-field seats. It was the first homer of Cuthbert’s young career — and the defining moment from the Royals’ 12-1 bludgeoning of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. Now the crowd was begging for a curtain call. The moment surprised him, Cuthbert would say afterward.

"There’s something big from the fans in Kansas City," Cuthbert said.

The Royals hope Ryan Madson can return this weekend from a sore right arm.

"His shoulder feels much, much better," Yost said. "His elbow feels much, much better. So he’s getting closer."

Jonny Gomes talks about getting his first hit with the Royals.

The Royals had team photo day. They'll just photoshop Alex Rios and Kelvin Herrera in later.

Outfielder Brett Eibner made Baseball Prospectus' All-Fringe Prospect Team.

In Baseball Prospectus 2014, we labeled Eibner a grip-it-and-rip-it hitter, one whose power production was obscured by ridiculous strikeout totals. Eibner has since made a few important adjustments, according to those in the know. "His swing is shorter and his two-strike approach is sharper now," Craig Goldstein said. Those changes have resulted in a career-low 18 percent strikeout rate, notable because his previous career-low was 25 percent. Even with those improvements and his impressive athleticism, Eibner isn't expected to become a regular. "If he makes it to majors," Goldstein said, "it's more likely to be as a defensive replacement than anything else."

Jeff Herr and Mike Engel of the KC Baseball Vault podcast talk playoff rotations.

Infielder Ramon Torres makes Carson Cistulli's fringe prospect list this week.

This represents Torres’s first appearance among the Five proper — although he was also designated by the author as the most compelling fringe sort in the Royals organization this past April as part of Kiley McDaniel’s thorough examination of that system. What was appealing about Torres then remains appealing still: control of the strike zone, sufficient (if still probably below average) power, and the capacity to play shortstop. What’s earned him an appearance on this edition of the Five is the magnitude with which he’s exhibited his skills recently. Since last week, for example, Torres has recorded a 2:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio and also .316 ISO (including a home run) in 21 plate appearances. And here’s his (promising) line from August as a whole: 110 PA, 9:11 BB:K, .196 ISO (4 HR).

Idaho Falls infielder D.J. Burt has gotten on base in 50 straight games, longest streak in the minors this year.

Former Royals Raul Ibanez and Joe McEwing are on this list of future managers.

Cleveland's Abraham Almonte has had to overcome some demons to get to the big leagues.

Someone is trying to sell a hoax story on Marlins President David Samson to get him fired.

Why a federal judge overturned Roger Goodell's suspension of Tom Brady.

What its like at the World Series of Chocktaw Stickball.

Bo Jackson gets some football stars to do some weird stuff in these AT&T ads.

Rutgers football is a train wreck.

Bill Simmons is expected to launch his own website with HBO.

What slang word is your state known for?

Economists want to change the way the FDA approves drugs.

Why Mr. Robot is not a great show....yet.

Taco Bell launches delivery services in selected cities.

Your song of the day is Supergrass with "Alright."