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Royals Rumblings - News for November 9, 2018

I never know what to put here

Yomiuri Giants v MLB All Stars
PBS character Whitley Merrifield in Japan
Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

The Star’s Pete Grathoff writes about former GM Steve Phillips on XM radio talking about the Royals trading Salvy (got all that?)

“Kansas City’s got no chance of winning again before Salvador Perez is over the hill. Why don’t they trade him right now?” Phillips said. “He’s got a reasonable enough contract. Trade him and get something for him. Leadership for rebuilding is great. But go get a journeyman guy who is a good leader, not a good catcher that could help a playoff contending team that could bring back two or three impactful prospects for you.’s Jeffrey Flanagan interviewed Royals prospect Brewer Hicklen

Being held back, that was honestly the first time in my life that I’d been told, “No,” and had a door shut in my face. Like all of us in the system, coming through high school and college, we were the best athletes growing up. And that’s what happened here -- just all these good athletes ahead of me. But that’s life. It gave me a chance to take a step back and realize God still had his hand on me. I needed to make the most of my opportunity after that. It’s all about how you respond.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t my first story about Rick Ankiel this year. Today’s news is that even though he’s 39, he’s trying a baseball comeback as a pitcher.

Ankiel, 39, underwent ligament reattachment surgery (called “primary repair”) last month after experiencing pain while preparing for his return, likely with the St. Louis Cardinals, five years after his retirement and 14 since throwing his last big-league pitch... Though not yet under contract with the Cardinals, Ankiel has been rehabilitating his elbow at the Cardinals’ facility in Jupiter, Florida.

I’m lucky that the series by Royals Farm Report’s Drew Osborne about potential Royals targets keeps falling on Thursday so I can pass along the link. Today’s potential future Royal is Kyle Muller of the Braves. I can’t help but get a little jealous while reading about the Braves pitching prospect pipeline. Then again, TNSTAAPP so they might want to cash some of those in for positional players.

The Braves have a wealth of pitching depth. Those pitchers don’t really have anywhere to go either as there is an incredibly talented log jam. The starting rotation in Atlanta features Foltynewicz (27), Newcomb (25), Gausman (27), Teheran (27), and Toussaint (22). Their top pitching prospects are Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Luis Gohara, Bryse Wilson, Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz, and finally Kyle Muller. That is the order from MLB Pipeline. John Sickels released his Braves Top 20 last week and gave Muller a B grade. All those other guys have B’s or better including 2 A’s and 5 B+’s. Basically, there is a lot of talent ahead of him on the way to the majors and not a lot of space for him. So the Royals should sweep in and try to find a way to give him a shot at his major league dream pitching in Royal blue. Actually, you could say this about several other pitchers as well, including Joey Wentz who is from the KC area.

BPKC’s Clint Scoles sifts through the minor league free agent list for old friends and potential finds. It features a Minda picture of Irving Falu.

Baseball America put out a list of minor league free agents on Tuesday and while most names aren’t likely to interest people, there are quite a few names with past links to the Royals.

Unfortunately, there is no new story on The Athletic today. If there were, your subscription bucks could help buy a Scottish Claymore so that I may fight the scourge to Thursday Rumblings that is Mandy. No new stories on Fansided either.

Whit Merrifield played on the MLB All Stars team in an exhibition game in Japan yesterday (aside: Japan is near the top of my list of places I want to visit and a couple of NPB games are a must)

Washington Nationals rookie sensation Juan Soto drove in a run with an infield double off the Tokyo Dome ceiling during a five-run third inning as the MLB team earned a 9-6 win over Hara’s Yomiuri Giants on Thursday night at Tokyo Dome.

Steve Adams of MLBTR does the “Offseason Outlook” for the Royals:

Regardless of the moves made by the Kansas City front office this winter, it’s difficult to see the Royals contending in 2019. Moore has plainly stated that his top priority is to improve the team’s farm system, but he’s coupled that with simultaneous desire to win more games. It’s a dichotomous pair of goals, and in recent baseball history, most teams (particularly, those with lesser resources) have focused on one or the other — either being content to accept some losing years in the short term in exchange for a prolonged run of success or showing a willingness to mortgage some of the future for a chance at immediate glory. The Royals, though, appear as though they’ll strive for some incremental improvements without detracting from the minor league ranks. Even though it’s hard to envision the strategy leading to a 2019 winner, despite a weak division, expect the Royals to add some second- and third-tier free agents to the margins of the roster as they aim to put a miserable 104-loss season behind them.

Whit Merrifield is enjoying his trip to Japan.

Two listicles today.

The first is a bit more goofy, from CBS Sports: “What if every MLB team had its own NHL uniform? Here’s what jerseys might look like

The second is from ESPN: “Ranking all 30 teams based on their 2018 goals”.

29. Kansas City Royals: The Year Cain, Hosmer And (Eventually) Mike Moustakas Were Gone

There’s a line in a Hemingway novel about going bankrupt: It happens “gradually and then suddenly.” The 2013-15 Royals were that plucky team of homegrown stars, unorthodox moves and an against-the-grain playing style, and they humiliated the projection systems that routinely underrated them. But without anything dramatic changing, they became a .500 team for a bit, and then -- suddenly -- everybody good was gone and they were one of the worst teams of the decade. Unlike the Orioles, there wasn’t a huge trade-deadline transition, the Royals’ farm system is in the league’s lower third and nobody has cleared the decks yet. (Their ace is still snarking about projection systems, though.) Silver lining: Adalberto Mondesi broke out and might already be a star. Silver poisoning: The Royals’ bullpen blew 51 leads, the ugliest, most self-loathing way to be terrible.

About 100 years ago, in internet time (2007), some stranger named Royals Retro started writing a yet incomplete series entitled “The Greatest 100 Royals of All Time”. Today, The Best of Royals Review (TM, patent pending) revisits that great (Masthead located) series.

Who was #100 you ask?

Jay Bell’s career with the Royals lasted exactly one season, but that season was so great, he warrants a place on the 100 Greatest Royals of All-Time. If you’re wondering how many Win Shares it took to make this list, Jay Bell compiled 21 Win Shares in his one season in Kansas City. His stint in Kansas City was so brief, I couldn’t even find a picture of him in a Royals uniform. Even without photographic evidence, I’m still pretty sure Jay Bell played for the Royals.

Whatever happened to Royals Retro anyway? I hear he started drinking full time due to new web-related responsibilities. Another tells me he lost both of his hands and that’s why this series has never been finished. We’ll probably never know.

I broke down and ordered a Nintendo Switch this week so I can play the stuff that comes out in the next couple of months, most notably Hey You Pikachu/Eevee and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. There’s also Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon 2 I need to catch up on. Two games I already have on my shelf, even though I don’t have the system, are the special editions of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

I talked about Xenoblade Chronicles back in September and there will be more music from that game in the months ahead. But I thought I’d also start in on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in the not too distant future. I’m extremely skeptical that it’s anywhere near as good as the original as the characters are younger and the themes look less interesting because of it. However, when I ordered the game a few weeks ago, it came with a sound selection (read: incomplete soundtrack) CD and I love a number of the tracks already. The complete OST is already on its way to my house from Japan.

The Battle(!!) theme is my favorite so far. Electric guitars and piano make for a great combination: