I’m back with another “Sunday Notes” column of quick takes on the Royals. If you have a more creative suggestion for a name than “Sunday Notes”, please let me know. I’m not good with the word.....things.
- On a recent episode of the Border Patrol on 810 WHB, Kansas City Star beat writer Rustin Dodd indicated that the Royals could see Mike Minor as a reliever, rather than a starter this year.
It is an interesting idea, entirely dependent on how Minor’s shoulder holds up. His last Major League game was in September of 2014, and he only made ten rehab starts in the minors last year due to several setbacks following recovery from labrum surgery. Minor has made just two relief appearances in his entire professional career, so it may take a different mindset for him to come out of the pen. I suppose it makes sense because Minor won’t be able to take on a starter’s workload immediately after that much time off. I also have to wonder if this is the plan for Kyle Zimmer as well, since he has thrown less than 80 innings over the last three seasons combined.
- Ryan Heffernon wrote a piece about the Royals switching strategies for a more power-heavy approach, and Jeffrey Flanagan echoed that sentiment with quotes from Dayton Moore. I don’t disagree that the Royals are looking to take a different approach, or at least “diversify” their offense, as Dayton Moore might say. However I will note that, at least under PECOTA’s projections, the Royals project to hit 148 home runs this year. They hit 147 last year, dead last in the league.
I think there are a few sluggers that can out pace their PECOTA projection for dingers. I think Mike Moustakas and Brandon Moss are good bets to exceed their projection of 17 home runs. If Lorenzo Cain can stay healthy, he’s a decent bet to exceed 11 home runs. And I like the potential of Jorge Soler becoming a monster power hitter, hitting 25-30 home runs. Still, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in this lineup that can exceed 30 home runs, and I would expect the Royals to still be near the bottom of what has become a very home run-friendly league.
- Reports of a potential $1.6 billion sale of the Miami Marlins got me thinking - what are the Royals worth? Forbes valued them last year at $865 million, more than the $675 million they valued the Marlins. The Marlins have been a terribly-run franchise, but have a television market nearly twice the size of Kansas City. They also have a brand new stadium, that, if the team was run competently over time, could be full once again. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs also points out that any sale of a MLB club also includes a stake in a very lucrative tech company - MLB Advanced Media and its spin-off BAMTech.
The $1.6 billion price tag is probably still a ridiculous overpay, but it does help set the market. I would guess the Royals are probably worth pretty close to a billion dollars, depending on what kind of TV deal they for the 2019 season. In any case, I imagine the point is moot. I expect the Glass family will retain the Royals, even after David Glass has gone. They see running the Royals as a favor to Ewing Kauffman and frankly, Dan Glass has little other work experience other than running the Royals. What is he going to do, get back into the video rental business?
- I guess I get why Oklahoma City Thunder fans were upset with Kevin Durant, but I don’t really get it. The man got you to the NBA Finals. He made your team relevant. He gave you hundreds of wins and great memories. He got fed up with the cheap management of the Thunder that thought it would be wise to keep Serge Ibaka and get middling assets for James Harden, and decided to pursue a ring with a better organization. If you’re going to be mad, be mad that management had three of the best players in basketball and couldn’t produce more than one championship.
I know there are still Royals fans that harbor deep resentment towards Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke, and even Carlos Beltran. Why should they have wanted to stay here? The franchise was a dysfunctional laughingstock. It is not an accident that players want to stay here now. Danny Duffy is not necessarily a more loyal person than Zack Greinke. Players stay now because Kansas City is a fun place to play in now, because winning in a stable environment with your friends is fun.