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Weekend Rumblings - News for March 4, 2017

Never bet against Ned.

Texas Rangers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for March 4, 2017

Rustin Dodd doesn’t really see room on the Opening Day roster for Peter O’Brien.

So to find a spot for O’Brien on the roster — theoretically as a fifth outfielder/platoon DH/pinch hitter — you have to do without one of Merrifield, Colon and Cuthbert. There is some redundancy in having all three of those guys on the roster. But they each offer versatility, and the Royals, like most teams, prefer to keep roster inventory high. Would they want to risk losing Colon or Cuthbert?

A couple things to keep in mind: The Royals rarely pinch hit. So they don’t have much need for that. And O’Brien has two options remaining, which means he could continue to pile up at-bats at Class AAA Omaha and polish his skills as a hitter.

For now, this seems like the likeliest course of action. We’ll see what happens if he continues to hit homers.

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City wants to see Nate Karns grab a rotation spot.

When the Royals signed Travis Wood and said they were going to give him an opportunity to win a starting job, I mentioned that it would be in the best interest of the team if Wood did not win that job. It’s just that Karns actually has the ability to be a middle of the rotation starter while Wood is likely nothing more than back-end guy. There’s nothing wrong with back-end guys. Every team needs solid starters in the four and five spots, but Karns can be more than that and he showed it in his spring debut. Of course, the knock on Karns is that he can’t get deep into games, which isn’t on display in the early part of spring (or the late part really, but a little bit more then), so we don’t know, but it would behoove the Royals if Karns kept pitching like that this spring and made it so they couldn’t take him out of the rotation.

Jon Heyman gives some updates on the Royals.

The Royals love Eric Hosmer, and GM Dayton Moore has exchanged some texts with agent Scott Boras … Luke Hochevar, working his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome, is hoping to be ready to pitch this season.

Jeff Sullivan, writing for ESPN (Insider) is betting against the Royals.

Finally, I'm intentionally picking against the Royals, who are already projected to be bad. I've written a lot about the Royals, and something I've noticed is that they just don't look like themselves anymore. In part out of necessity, they've had to move away from contact-hitting and bullpen depth. The bullpen is now remarkably thin behind Kelvin Herrera, and the rotation has plenty of questions after Danny Duffy, who's less than proven himself.

While familiar position players remain, Alex Gordon has started striking out too much, and Lorenzo Cain gave back many of his offensive gains from 2015. Eric Hosmer can't get enough batted balls off the ground, and I'm not entirely sure how well Mike Moustakas comes back from tearing his ACL. The defense is still good, but the offense isn't and the bullpen is no longer capable of covering that up. Barring a big surprise, I see the Royals finishing closer to 70 wins than 75.

Fox Sports has their Royals season preview.

The Royals’ magical ride is over. They will fade back into obscurity as the Twins surge past them in the AL Central standings for this and many years to come.

How do Ian Kennedy and Alex Gordon stack up among last year’s free agent deals?

2080 Baseball has in-depth profiles of Royals prospects.

David Price won’t need surgery.

Justin Verlander says players should be tested for PEDs every day.

Pirates infielder Jung-Ho Kang is punished for his DUI.

How can we re-imagine the modern pitching staff?

Bud Selig won’t apologize for his tenure as Commissioner.

The greatest NFL combine performers ever.

The MLS is all grown up.

The hidden link between autism and addiction.

A formula for the perfect superhero.

Star Wars: Rebels will return for a fourth season.

Your song of the day is Sonny Clark with Cool Struttin’.