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Royals Rumblings - News for February 2, 2018

Days until pitchers and catchers report: 11!

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Shortstop Alcides Escobar returns to Royals on one-year contract
Leading off on Opening Day 2018, your SS Alcides Escobar
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images

Peter Moylan talks with KC Star’s Rustin Dodd about the market:

“For me, the only thing that is a little frustrating is the unknown,” Moylan said. “Not knowing where I am going to be in two weeks, not knowing where I’m going to spend the season, not being able to line up housing for either. It’s been kind of crazy how the free agency has gone. I don’t think anybody expected this.”

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs looks at win projections for the next five years. Guess who loses the most from the last five years to the next five?

At the other end, we find the Royals. The Royals are tied for seventh in baseball in wins over the past five years, but, over the next five years, they’re ranked 28th, between the Orioles and Tigers. The only farm system worse than theirs, according to BA, belongs to the Mariners, and the Mariners, at least, seem to have a modestly competitive big-league roster right now. The Mariners’ reckoning is probably coming. The Royals’ reckoning is probably already here. The difference is that the Royals are far more willing to accept it, given the highs they recently achieved. This is just capturing them in their inevitable downturn, but we can’t forget about where the Royals got to. The Mariners should be so lucky.

CBS’s Dayn Perry outlines what every team has spent on free agency this season:

Spent so far: $4.57 million (Scott Barlow, Alcides Escobar, Wily Peralta)

At this writing, the Angels, Rockies, and Brewers are the only teams to spend more than $100 million on MLB free agents. Meantime, -- the Rays, Pirates, Marlins, and Braves -- haven’t spent any money at all on MLB free agents.

His colleague Mike Axisa gauges landing spots for spare Brewers outfielders. Here are his thoughts on KC:

Alex Gordon’s contract ensures he’s going to play left field, and because Jorge Soler is out of minor-league options -- he can’t go to Triple-A without passing through waivers, and Royals aren’t going to do that -- he’s locked into right field. Center field is wide open though thanks to Cain’s free agency, so either Broxton or Phillips would fit. The question is whether the Brewers have interest in any of Kansas City’s pitchers. Would the Royals be willing to give up Danny Duffy for a package built around Phillips?

For blogs doing the “preview every player” thing, apparently the resigning of Alcides Escobar meant it was his turn. KOK’s Jordan Foote’s take is here. And BPKC’s Craig Brown article is here. Craig Brown... why does that name sound familiar...

Considering last week featured Will’s final post, we already have the context needed for this one: Pop Tarts and The Process - My Story.

This is the introductory post for Craig Brown, who had the unenviable task of taking over for the site’s founder. His reign of terror tenure (along with Clark Fosler) began in 2012 and lasted a little under 2 years.

In there, he dropped this wonderful little nugget, gaining instant credibility:

I interned for the radio rights holders in ‘93 and saw Hal McRae lose his sh*t and toss the tape recorder I was responsible for across the room.

Some of the comments are great, too. Like this. Or this.

Sadly, Craig is no longer here. But his good work can now be found at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City and is typically featured in Rumblings threads like, well, this one.

I really don’t like bleacher report for myriad reasons, but Joon Lee’s interview with Mark Appel really made the rounds yesterday so I figured I’d link to it.

I still use Firefox and they’ve finally succumbed to the trend of sponsored stories on new tabs, sadly.

I found one that was pretty good this week and it dovetails nicely with last week’s topic. The Economist looks at ad revenue estimates for major advertisers like Google and Facebook and what they means for the companies and the industries they advertise for.

Unfortunately, about 99% of them are garbage, even when they’re clearly using my bookmarks and visited sites to make suggestions. I’m pretty good at filtering out catchy titles but, every once in a while, they’ll get me to click.

I ran across one that was something like “The biggest wastes of time we regret later in life” or something like that but, frankly, it wasn’t very good so I’m not linking to it here. I tried to search for something similar but about half were, as Farmhand (I think) complained about last week, to the same exact story.

I like the idea and have always thought it a good one. I’ve asked my parents and grandparents this question a few times because, as a good manager of mine once said “learning from your mistakes is good but learning from someone else’s is better”. I have yet to see a good article on this topic, however. Most are filled with junk that sounds like it’s from a bad newspaper advice column with things like “don’t spend time in a bad relationship” or “always spend time bettering yourself”.

So I’m going to open this up to the floor like an OT thread: what are some things you’ve regretted later in life - things you’ve wasted time or resources on? How about decisions you wish you had made sooner? Honestly, the more specific, the better. Like saying “travel more” to a poor 25 year old isn’t terribly useful but “getting Lasik when I was 30 rather than 40 before my vision started changing” sounds better to me.

February is going to be Gamecube month. It was when I got back into gaming after having to mostly sit out the previous generation.

Let’s get this out of the way to start the month: I love the Gamecube! American gamers seem to think it was a massive failure. Only, it really wasn’t. Yes, towards the end of the 6th generation, Nintendo experienced their first quarterly loss in the company’s public history. But that was when the Gamecube started to sputter and the Nintendo DS startup costs were eating into the bottom line. The final sales numbers for that generation were 155M PS2s, 24M XBoxes, 22M Gamecubes, and 9M Dreamcasts.

As an aside, I have a real axe to grind with the Xbox. For the first few years, it lived off of two things: being the Halo Box and market convergence (the era where games really started becoming similar).** Seriously: name me 10 good Xbox exclusives. I’m going to spot you Halo and Halo 2, KOTOR and KOTOR 2, Project Gotham Racing, Fable, Jade Empire, and Panzer Dragoon Orta. Go! You just need 2 more.*

*Since we’re counting games that came out on PC as exclusive to the Xbox, it needs have to come out on Xbox first (sorry, Morrowind). Also, Shenmue II was released on the Dreamcast in Japan so, no, you can’t use that either.

**Also, I don’t want to minimize how important Xbox Live was to the history of console gaming - that was the real innovation from the system.

I remember the first time I saw the Gamecube at a display in the store. I started playing Wave Race but about half a lap in, I got distracted with the water effects and just started looking at how gorgeous the game was. Nintendo has never lived or died by graphics capability, but, man was that pretty.

Our song of the day is from F-Zero GX. It was the first major collaboration between Nintendo and Sega after the demise of the poor Dreamcast. There was an arcade companion, F-Zero AX, which makes sense when you consider Sega’s history and emphasis on arcade games. Players could even bring their Gamecube memory card plug it into the arcade cabinet to use data from the home system.

It is probably the fastest game I’ve ever played. The speed is unforgiving and, unlike Mario Kart, if you fall off, you’re dead - as in: “restart the level” dead. The other 29 (!) racers try to knock you off or deplete your shields as well. However, the track designs are amazing: varied, creative, and gorgeous. It’s also one of the prettiest games on the Gamecube. Futuristic landscapes are probably easier to render as there’s no “realism” to compare them to. In all, it’s one of the best racing games I’ve ever played, even if, at times, it’s one of the most frustrating.

The song I’m using might be a tad “controversial”. This isn’t the classic Big Blue music. Amusement Visions went with a different song for Big Blue than previous game incarnations and I love it. It’s perfect for the extreme speed of the game. (Sorry about the video quality but the gameplay was better on this video than any other one I found online because most are boring speed runs and you don’t get the feel for racing against others on those).