The effort from Smith was encouraging. But so was the image of Perez finding his offensive mojo at the plate. After batting .158 with a .200 on-base percentage in June, he has returned closer to career norms in July. He credits the better performance on the usual ups-and-downs of a baseball season. Yet he had rarely dug a hole this deep.
When he made the All-Star Game earlier this month, voted in by his fellow players, observers derided the selection. When he arrived at the All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., his on-base percentage was .259, one of the worst marks in the league among regulars.
“I just think he’s a little more selective in his at-bats,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s not free-swinging as much.
Also at the Athletic, Jim Bowden ranks the 21 best starting pitchers available on the trade market:
4. Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Age: 29 Under control through: 2021
2018 stats: W/L: 6-8, ERA: 4.40, WAR: 1.4, WHIP: 1.442, SO: 107
Last 30 days: ERA: 2.25, QS: 4, IP: 32, H: 28, BB: 12, SO: 31
The Royals are in complete rebuild mode, and shedding the remainder of Duffy’s over $50 million contract exposure through 2021 only makes sense. Duffy has an impressive 2.25 ERA over the last month and could end up being the best starter actually dealt.
Jeffrey Flanagan writes about what might have been Mike Moustakas’s final home game as a Royal:
The slugging third baseman reached with a single in his first at-bat on Wednesday, and after Whit Merrifield stole second in the fifth, Moustakas knocked him in with a double. Alex Gordon also had an RBI double in the second inning, while Merrifield and Rosell Herrera added run-scoring hits in the ninth. With Herrera on, Moustakas struck out to end the game.
Moustakas has spent eight seasons with the Royals, including a pair of deep postseason runs that culminated in a pair of American League pennants and a World Series title in 2015. His handprints were all over both playoff runs, most notably in his closing out both pennant-clinching games with grounders to him at third.
This isn’t the first time Moustakas has potentially bid farewell at The K. Along with Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas, he received an emotional ovation from the crowd in last season’s finale that brought him to tears as all were expected to depart in free agency. Moustakas and Escobar returned on one-year deals.
BP KC’s Colby Wilson wonders whether the rest of the AL Central combined could beat Cleveland.
Two Dan Szymborski tweet threads about the Royals were pretty great yesterday. First:
People ask me why the Royals make me fume - what makes me angry is just the waste. The Royals had essentially jerked the fanbase, made excuses and sold a poor product for 25 years. They finally have a decent product, roll through the playoffs and win the World Series.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) July 25, 2018
Make sure to read that whole thread.
Alcides Escobar's plate appearance incentive clause is really weird - the *Royals* pay *him* every additional 25 PA he gets when by all logic, it should be the other way around.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) July 25, 2018
Albert Pujols passed Ken Griffey Jr. on the all-time home run list. The dong was hung off former Royal and prodigious long-ball-allower James Shields.
29 year-old Brett Eibner, who played OF in the bigs for 4 teams over the last 2 seasons is converting to a pitcher on the Rangers farm. Debuted last night for the AZL rookies and allowed a run, but Kd 2 in an inning.— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) July 25, 2018
- Kiley McDaniel scouts the Rays’ return for Matt Andriese.
- Jeff Sullivan notes that both the Rays and Red Sox focused on results in the Nathan Eovaldi/Jalen Beeks swap.
- Craig Edwards asserts that the Pirates are still in it.
- Travis Sawchik wonders whether the Yankees just assured themselves a win in the Wild Card Game with their acquisition of Zach Britton.
Why did sailors in the British Navy prefer their booze on fire?
THE DEADWOOD MOVIE AT HBO IS FINALLY GREENLIT!
The Venice Film Festival lineup is loaded.
Wildfires have ignited inside the Arctic Circle.
The song of the day is “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen: