I asked around for suggestions for a title for this "Sunday Notes" column and reader cmkeller suggested "Royal We-ekender", a delicious pun on "the royal we", so we'll go with that for awhile.
- Dayton Moore has talked about extending the window past 2017, which is why he acquired Major League-ready players like Jorge Soler and Nate Karns and signed free agents to multi-year deals. But if free agents Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain leave next year, will there much money left to replace them?
The Royals have nearly $100 million committed to ten players in 2018.
- That is assuming Kennedy doesn't opt out. Also, if Jorge Soler has a good year, he can opt into the arbitration system which could earn him more money. On top of that you have buyouts for Chris Young, Mike Minor, and Omar Infante (yes, still!) that total $4.725 million. You would have arbitration cases for Kelvin Herrera (say $8-10 million) and Nate Karns ($2-4 million). And you'd still have to pay for 13 other players to fill out the roster!
- Nick Swisher has retired, which got me thinking about the book Moneyball, which was about the draft Swisher was selected in. I say this as someone who (a) is a big believer in analytics; (b) thinks Billy Beane did an amazing job turning around the Oakland Athletics; and (c) thinks Michael Lewis is a terrific writer (I'm currently reading his latest book The Undoing Project). Having said all that, the narratives of the A's as geniuses ahead of the curve for the 2002 draft does not hold up well at all. Beane is portrayed as heavily dismissing the value of drafting high school pitchers in that draft, giddy when the Mets choose prep lefty Scott Kazmir one pick ahead of them, allowing the A's to select Swisher.
"Scott Kazmir is yet another high school pitcher in whom the A's haven't the slightest interest. Billy's so excited he doesn't even bother to say how foolish it is to take a high school pitcher with a first-round pick."
- Looking back now, Swisher was a 14.7 WAR player through his pre-free agency years, while Kazmir produced 17.1 WAR. The three best players in the first round of that draft were all high school pitchers - Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Zack Greinke, selected by the Royals sixth overall. The later round selections that were supposed to be great finds were largely busts as you might expect. The only regulars were Joe Blanton and Mark Teahen, two players even the scouts were impressed by. The guy that the scouts hated - catcher Jeremy Brown - barely reached the big leagues.It is just another example that narratives that present issues in black and white - even if we may agree with the central premise - are probably misleading us a bit. The world is typically much grayer, and not able to be summarized in a breezy 350-page story.
- Brian Flynn fell through his barn roof, breaking his ribs and causing him to be out at least eight weeks. It has drawn a few laughs now that we know he is not seriously injured, but it could have been a very serious injury or worse. The Star had a good round up of the most bizarre injuries in Royals history, and it got me thinking that in today's modern world aren't most of our injuries are probably rather bizarre? We have improved the safety of our products and our lives (perhaps too much so, some would argue) to the point where it is harder to get hurt. Typically accidents seem to happen when people are using products outside of their intended use. What is your most bizarre injury?