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Weekend Rumblings - News for September 22, 2018

Can the Royals get back to elite defense?

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Brian Goodwin #25 of the Kansas City Royals makes a diving catch to get out Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning at Progressive Field on September 4, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for September 22, 2018

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City is bullish on the Royals’ defense next year.

In thinking about next year’s defense, I believe it has a chance to get back to truly elite levels relatively quickly, but it all depends on how the Royals align. And some of that depends on what they think they can get offensively out of the guys who look to be excellent defensively. Think for a moment about an outfield of Alex Gordon, Brian Goodwin and Brett Phillips. And then a potential infield of Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez and Ryan O’Hearn. Okay, O’Hearn isn’t the elite defender, but if Merrifield can pick up third base as quickly as I feel like he can, that could be one salty group.

Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic has a good piece getting reactions around the league about offensive tweets from players, quoting Dayton Moore on what he tells players.

“We don’t expect to undo years and years — and, in fact, generation upon generation — of, shall we say, uninformed or poor behavior that makes the kid the product of their environment. We can’t,” Moore says. “But your leaders are the ones shaping your culture. Your leaders have to step up and say, ‘This is what we expect. This is what words are meant to be.’

“I will be the first to say I have said things, written things to people I care about, people I respect that I wish I didn’t say or wish I wouldn’t have written. When I do that, when I make that mistake as a man, I’m accountable. I ask for forgiveness. I apologize and ask them to accept my apology. I try to get better. And I move on.”

Jon Heyman reports Royals payroll will drop to about $85-90 million next year.

He also reports the Royals are among the teams “with an eye on” Japanese free agent Yusei Kikuchi.

Kikucki, 27, is a veteran with the Seibu Lions who absolutely dominated in 2017, pitching to a 1.97 ERA. But while his ERA is up more than a run, to 3.07, this year, and his stuff is a bit down, he is admired for his ability to pitch with above average velocity for a lefty.

John Sickels at Minor League Ball looks at sleeper prospects in the AL Central, with Emmanuel Rivera from the Royals.

Result: Hit .280/.333/.427 in High-A with six homers, 29 walks, 59 strikeouts in 375 at-bats; not as good as last year but decent enough, made a lot of progress with the glove and looks like he can stick at third base.

Tigers slugger Victor Martinez will retire after today’s game.

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is placed on leave after his wife alleges domestic abuse.

The Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister, with former Royals coach Don Wakamatsu taking over on an interim basis.

Francisco Arcia became the first player to pitch, catch, and hit a home run in the same game.

Shorter players are reaching new heights this year in baseball.

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How pitch-framing became more important and common.

The new extra-inning rule in the minors cut game times.

Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota, leading to a beef between Stephen Jackson and Andrew Wiggins.

Japan is hit by a $60 million cryptocurrency heist.

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Jordan Peele will host a new version of The Twilight Zone.

Your song of the day is the Red Garland Quintet with All Mornin’ Long.