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Royals Rumblings - News for February 15, 2017

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for February 15, 2017

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs is skeptical of Travis Wood as a starting pitcher.

Last year, pitching exclusively in relief, only 52% of the batters Wood faced were right-handed, which is why he allowed just a .285 wOBA despite a massive platoon split. Wood’s pitches work very well against left-handed hitters, and the Cubs maximized the number of lefties he could face without turning him into a pure specialist. But as a starter, that simply isn’t possible, and Wood’s job would then to be roll through heavily right-handed line-ups.

It’s possible, of course, that he could make some adjustments to his repertoire in order to reflect the return to the rotation. He used to throw a change-up, in fact, and the Royals could encourage him to bring that pitch back. Perhaps hanging out with Jason Vargas — another short left-handed starter, but one who has an excellent change-up — could help Wood become something he hasn’t been in the past. Realistically, if Wood was able to learn a quality change-up, he probably could be a pretty good solid starting pitcher, given his dominance of left-handed batters.

But more realistically, if Wood had confidence in his change-up improving enough to offset his big weakness, he probably wouldn’t have scrapped it. We can dream on anyone adding a new skill, but those types of transformations are more the exception than the rule. Most likely, Wood will continue to be excellent against left-handed batters and not so good against right-handed batters.

The Royals discuss moving on from the tragic death of Yordano Ventura.

“It’s tough to deal with,” Moustakas said. “The only thing we can do is stay together as a family and play in his memory and keep remembering him all the time.”

In some moments, Yost says, he will think through his roster or sort through his starting rotation, and he will still instinctively insert Ventura into the equation. Then it hits him again, like punch to the gut, the pain surfacing once more.

It happened again late last week. It will likely happen again soon. This is Royals spring training in 2017.

“He’s always on your mind,” Yost said. “Always. I still catch myself thinking about him being in our rotation for a second. It just takes time to work through that. And we’ll work through that as a group.”

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City addresses what the Royals will do with Cheslor Cuthbert.

They can trade Cuthbert. I believe there’s value in a guy like him. He’s 24 and showed he can hang at the big league level. Again, if there was an injury involved in his end-of-season swoon, that should theoretically make him more valuable. No, the Royals aren’t going to get back an ace for him, but one trade that might make some sense now is sending him to Atlanta in exchange for the now blocked Jace Peterson. I’m not sure Peterson actually is an upgrade over Whit Merrifield or Christian Colon, but he’s athletic and can work a walk and might be able to factor in the center field discussion in 2018. Maybe that’s not the deal, but I think a trade could be had for Cuthbert that would be beneficial to all parties.

Joakim Soria is ready to move on from his disappointing 2016 season.

Said Soria, "It was just one of those years. It happens. You put that away and move forward.

"This is what I love to do. It's not that I don't think about it. But you have to move forward. In any job, you have rough years or rough months. But you have to move forward.

"I challenged guys last year. Then, you learn from that."

ESPN identifies a player on each team with something to prove in 2017.

Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer

Repeated injuries have limited Zimmer to 232 innings over five pro seasons, and he has yet to make his big league debut. His latest malady was thoracic outlet syndrome, the same condition that felled the Mets' Matt Harvey last season. Zimmer was back throwing over the winter and is expected to be ready for spring training. For all his inability to stay on the mound, when he has been on it, the results have been worthy of his former status as one of the game's better pitching prospects. His composite minor league ERA is 3.22 and he has struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings. Zimmer turns 26 in September, so if he looks good in Arizona, how long can the Royals afford to play it safe before trying to find out what they have? And if he makes the big league club, what is his role? How long does he have to remain healthy before we stop holding our breaths?

Joey Werner at Prospect Digest gives his top ten Royals prospects (h/t Shaun Newkirk).

Danny Duffy pledges $500 per strikeout for Noah’s Bandage Project.

Lee Judge explains why fielding drills are important for pitchers.

The owner of the Omaha Storm Chasers purchases Baseball America.

Grant Brisbee identifies three teams with underrated strengths.

Could the White Sox win it all?

Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes likely needs Tommy John surgery.

Scott Boras has ideas on how to fix the business of baseball.

Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has prostate cancer.

The University of Arizona baseball team re-enacts a scene from Major League.

Joe Posnanski defends Field of Dreams.

Is Arizona really going to approve another public subsidy for another hockey arena?

Heartbreak and elation at the Westminster Dog Show.

The United Arab Emirates wants to build a city on Mars.

Why Hollywood doesn’t make romantic comedies anymore.

Could Kansas City’s airport move to the Kansas side?

Your song of the day is De La Soul with Me Myself and I.