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Weekend Rumblings - News for April 22, 2017

Whit more can the Royals do?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Weekend Rumblings - News for April 22, 2017

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City looks at the optics of Friday’s roster shakeup.

Paulo Orlando’s struggles may end up really helping the Royals out on the PR front. The decision to carry Raul Mondesi as the starting second baseman was a somewhat controversial one given his debut in 2016. Even with some bright spots in 2017, it’s pretty clear he’s not a big leaguer at this point in his career. But with Orlando’s struggles and the need to recall Whit Merrifield because of them, the Royals may have an opportunity to replace Mondesi at second base with Merrifield in the near future without openly saying that Mondesi lost the job. You see, if Whit hits enough, when Jorge Soler eventually returns, the Royals can say that they needed the extra offense Merrifield provides without having to outwardly say that Mondesi simply wasn’t good enough to keep his job.

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs thinks Eric Hosmer may be the worst regular first baseman in baseball on offense.

But Hosmer is now 27 years old, nearly 4,000 plate appearances into his big league career, and in his contract year, he’s started the season by hitting .193/.270/.263 with a 57% groundball rate. He has two extra base hits so far this season, because as usual, he’s just hitting everything on the ground. There’s no evidence that Hosmer has made any efforts to revamp his swing to take advantage of his contact-on-fly-ball authority. If anything, he’s going the wrong way.

So, yeah, Hosmer still looks like a guy who could be good if he joined the elevate-and-celebrate crowd, but based on actual results, Hosmer currently isn’t all that different from Mitch Moreland, who signed a one year, $5.5 million contract this winter. And over the last year, he’s actually been the worst offensive everyday first baseman in baseball.

Fantasy baseball writer Chris Towers of CBS Sports marvels at Danny Duffy.

There are complicating factors here. For one, although Duffy's velocity is down, he isn't exactly oblivious to it. He started throwing his two-seam fastball more last season, and he has continued that trend in the early going. You tend to trade whiffs for groundballs when you trade your four-seamer for a two-seamer, and that's not a bad tradeoff to make if you can't blow the ball past batters.

However, what might be more interesting -- and telling -- is that Duffy's overall fastball usage is down pretty significantly. He threw his two fastballs 59.4 percent of the time last season, a number that is down to 47.0 through his first four starts. This is something we typically see from older pitchers, and it could be an acknowledgment by Duffy that his fastball can't be his dominant pitch anymore.

Rustin Dodd was on Buster Olney’s podcast.

Seven things to know about Jorge Bonifacio.

These stats show the Royals had to demote Paulo Orlando.

Jorge Soler homered in his first rehab game with Omaha.

A profile of Kauffman Stadium PA announcer Mike McCartney.

Four Royals were among the top 20 jersey sold last year. Not this year.

Pretty neat memorabilia from Jeremy Guthrie.

Baseball America has their mock draft with the Royals taking a Texas prep pitcher.

Royals shortstop Nicky Lopez gets mention among Fangraph’s fringe prospects.

Madison Bumgarner is out 6-8 weeks after a dirtbike injury.

The A’s have selected four sites for a potential stadium.

Red Sox utility player Brock Holt goes on the disabled list for vertigo.

The Royals are not expected to sign Cuban free agent Luis Robert.

The Rangers release Josh Hamilton, likely ending his career.

Rob Manfred says Las Vegas is an option for relocation, but probably not expansion.

Francisco Lindor turns down a $100 million extension.

The best and worst games of the upcoming 2017 NFL season.

Why are measles coming back?

Unicorn frappuccinos are causing Starbucks baristas to meltdown.

What are the best unbingeable shows?

Your song of the day is Clifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet with Step Lightly.