Since teams are sitting around twiddling their collective free agent signing thumbs, we’re left to mark time by the mandated deadlines as they pertain to roster construction. Last week, it was adding players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. (Wheeeeeeeee!) This week, it’s the deadline to tender arbitration eligible players contracts for the 2018 season.
Rustin Dodd is reporting “the Royals are expected to tender contracts to pitchers Kelvin Herrera, Nathan Karns and Brandon Maurer”.
Former Royal Gregg Zaun was fired from Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet:
“This week, we received complaints from multiple female employees at Sportsnet regarding inappropriate behavior and comments by Gregg Zaun in the workplace. After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately.”
In the continuing Shohei Ohtani saga, Eno Sarris at Fangraphs looks at which teams have kept players healthiest the last few years. The Royals do quite well in a number of the metrics and get a number of mentions in the article. Interestingly, another AL Central team does very well at keeping players healthy, too.
You know what? No matter how you define health, the Twins keep appearing among the top-three clubs here. Maybe it’s time to give them their due. They’ve been a young team for the last five years, but they’ve also kept their players healthy, no matter how you define it.
On Jeff Passan's top free agent RP list, former Royals occupy spots 1, 2, and 6.
Meanwhile Mike Moustakas tops CBS’s list of available 3B free agents:
Moustakas is a two-time all-star coming off a season in which he hit 38 home runs and showed he was completely over the ACL injury that cost him almost all of 2016. Oh, and he turned 28 in September, meaning he's relatively young for a free agent. Despite some shaky seasons earlier in his career, Moustakas has developed into an above-average hitter, evidenced by his 117 OPS+ since 2015. Opinions on his defense vary, but make no mistake: he's going to be handsomely compensated this winter by a team seeking a new starting third baseman.
Leigh Oleszczak (I have to look that up every time I try to spell it) at Fansided KC looks ahead to 2018. She used a power ranking where Kansas City was ranked 30th out of 30 teams as a jumping off point for the article.
Royals Farm Report is doing a top 100 countdown of Royals prospects. Numbers 26-30 were posted yesterday.
Kings of Kauffman is counting down the Royals All-Time Top 50. You won't believe who is #1! I can guess but I'm not certain because I'm not clicking through a slideshow.
Royals Review likes anagrams nicknames, from “Lo, Danger Ox” to “Crime Horse” to “My Role: Darkness”. But even if baseball is played another thousand years, I am 100% confident there will never be a better nickname than “Batter Nine, You Sucky”. And this is the thread for his first trip to Kansas City: Royals acquire SS Yuniesky Betancourt.
It may not be the most interesting article about Yuni on this site (it’s probably this article that we may do at a later date). This is just a pure news article written mostly without commentary by someone named RoyalsRetro.
However, many of the comments are, um, well, “wonderful” is not quite the right word. But they make for an entertaining read.
"DM is pulling a bernie madoff, but instead of our money, he’s doing it with our hopes and dreams." -kevinf
"I'm pretty sure all the GMs in the game have their assistants on strict orders to ALWAYS put Dayton Moore through or wake them up when he calls. It’s like winning the lottery." -devilfingers
"I was going to rec this if it was an onion-like piece. Now I’m probably just buying a gun.” -NHZ
"Seriously. I’m on the Mariners’ side in the Grass Creek War, but this is like the US Cavalry giving a small pox blankets to the Native Americans." -Decatur
"It’s like giving the blanket after the village is already infected. Is one more crappy SS even going to matter at this point?" -Pauli
"Yeah, it's more like, while they're dying of small pox, you kick them in the nads." -Royal Revival
Yes, it’s not a literary original, but I like the Yahoo headline of Andrew McCutchen gave his newborn son the most Pittsburgh name ever.
If you could concoct something would give people a negative stereotype of stupid NFL fans, wouldn’t it go something like this? Picture a bunch of drunken Pats dudebros ridiculing a bunch of half-suicidal Jets fans about something called a “butt fumble” until it becomes a “thing”? Apparently that quasi-iconic play was 5 years ago and ESPN gave it the oral history treatment.
This one’s for Farmhand. My wife and I saw what looked like hummingbirds flitting between flowers a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, Houston’s warm, but usually they’ve migrated through in September. November would be really late for single one, much less the dozen we saw in some landscaping flowers in our neighborhood. Apparently they weren’t hummingbirds but “hummingbird” sphinx moths. Read more about these little guys on a blog post from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Speaking of HMNS, if you’re visiting Houston, it’s probably the second place you should visit after NASA. Its dinosaur hall is comparable or better than any I’ve been to, a list that includes the Field Museum in Chicago, Smithsonian in Washington DC, and Carnegie in Pittsburgh. But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out Allosaurus Roar, the most comprehensive website for dinosaur exhibit reviews. On their “Top 25 North American Dinosaur Museums” list, HMNS checks in at #5.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Chicago and finally made it the original Pizzeria Uno. That means I have now been to the “Big Three” of Chicago deep dish pizza (or Big Four if you want to count Giordano’s). Here’s a brief version of Chicago’s deep dish history. For the record, I would rank them Lou Malnati’s > Gino’s East > Pizzeria Uno > Giordano’s. But they’re all quite good.
Doing a quick search, I don’t think this story ever made Rumblings when it was making the rounds a couple of weeks ago. The headline pretty much says it all: Giant Wall of Lava Lamps Helps to Protect 10% of Internet Traffic (Seriously).
Did you know New York City subway has a secret Holiday Nostalgia train with vintage cars? That definitely looks like it’s worth checking out if you’re in the area.
I was considering whether to use this article or not so I just threw it in anyway. Yes, I found it while reading something else. Yes, it’s over 5 years old. And, yes, the conclusions drawn were weak. But I learned a little something about binaural beats, which I hadn’t heard of before.
And that brings us to the Song of the Day. Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It's both popular and critically acclaimed, topping the "best selling album of all time" chart and appearing on pretty much every "best album of all time" list.
Sega Genesis’s Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker doesn’t quite garner the same acclaim (IGN’s 4.5 review, for instance). I think that 4.5 is a bit harsh, but it does play a bit more like an 8-bit era game than a 16-bit era game. Naturally, you play as the iconic King of Pop and use dance moves as attacks. However, it’s a bit simplistic (but not simple as the hit detection is bad at times) and repetitive as you search levels to free kidnapped children before fighting a boss. There was also an arcade version that was more of a fighter and less of a platformer.
The graphics are strong and, most importantly, the music is wonderful. Yes, it’s limited by 16-bit era midi technology, but there are great renditions of some of his biggest songs like Beat It, Bad, Billy Jean, and (below) Smooth Criminal.