The Royals have an extremely bifurcated offense, with three players projected to be solidly above league-average in Adalberto Mondesi, Salvador Perez, and Whit Merrifield, and a fairly large gulf before the next tier of KC hitters. If the Royals were really going the full rebuild route, you’d see Perez and Merrifield — entering their age-29 and -30 seasons respectively — on other teams’ lists, but the Royals seem content to go the “sorta” rebuild route.
Given how thin their talent is, it’s hard to see them having much success going this route and as such, Perez and Merrifield are likely to be either in their declines or in other organizations by the time the performance matters. Winning 72 games instead of 64 in 2019 isn’t going to jumpstart anything.
Jeffrey Flanagan sits down with relief prospect Walker Sheller:
In the Royals organization, who have you learned the most from?
Sheller: ”Everyone. But if I had to pick one guy, it would be Nick Dini. We were roommates. He’s a catcher who deals with pitching and hitting, so being able to talk to him about what works best in facing batters, different tendencies, that helps. I think Nick and I have had the best conversations on how to better ourselves.”
Oh, so not a coach? Cool. Cool cool cool. Nothing broken here.
In Kiley McDaniel’s chat at FanGraphs yesterday, a user asked about the Royals’ 2018 pitching draft class:
Wendall: How excited should Royals fans be about their young arms? Could Lynch, Kowar, Singer, De La Rosa, etc… accelerate the rebuild? Potential for a 2015 Mets type impact in 2020?
Kiley McDaniel: Early returns sound positive, but doesn’t seem like a rare, once every 5-10 years group of talent. But to have that months after the draft would mean the other 29 teams all drafted pretty poorly. You’re lucky to get one 1st rounder that was misjudged this quickly (like Nate Pearson the year before)
Al Melchior looks at the Royals relievers who could be fantasy options this year.
MJ Melendez made MLB Pipeline’s list of top 10 catching prospects in the game.
At RFR, joshkeiser40 [what weird parents named their kid that?] looks at what it would be like to eat Jecksson Flores.
At BP, Aaron Gleeman uses PECOTA to project future Royals Bryce Harper and Manny Machado for the next ten years.
Oregon’s first husband cleaned a park bathroom at Mount Hood and sent the bill to a certain man in Washington.
Is Spotify wiping out music’s middle class?
There will be a documentary premiering at SXSW about Brainiac, the ‘90s synth-punk band that was on the verge of breaking big when tragedy struck. Titled Brainiac: Transmissions from Zero, it features a slew of your favorite figures from the indie scene past and present. For more on the band from the musicians who insist they were vital, go here.
M. Night Shyamalan took his handcuffs off by self-financing his three most recent films.
Steve Carell and Greg Daniels are teaming up for another workplace comedy for Netflix, this one about Space Force.
Can the idiots running Michigan State do anything right?
The first song of the day comes from the Sharon Van Etten album dropping tomorrow entitled Remind Me Tomorrow. This the third outstanding single—”Seventeen”—from the album which marks a drastic stylistic shift in her fourth time ‘round the LP track.
The second song of the day is the brand new single from the forthcoming debut LP Beware of the Dogs from the pride of the greater Perth metro area (Fremantle to be specific), Stella Donnelly. This bit of brilliance is “Old Man,” a poppy piss-off to handsy old pricks:
The third song of the day comes from Kevin Morby’s 2013 debut album Harlem River. The title track:
The fourth and final song of the day is the hauntingly beautiful tune “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron & Wine, which will probably bring you to tears if you watched Homecoming. This is the acoustic version from the Such Great Heights single, not the original version from In Good Company and the Iron & Wine rarities compilation Around the Well:
If you were ever curious about the song’s lyrics, somehow a YouTube comment (I wouldn’t have read it were it not for having seen this posted on Reddit) from thetrailorman1 nails it, commenting at the Gregory Alan Isakov cover of the song:
The narrator is the trapeze swinger. The circus is life. The narrator has died recently, and he’s caught somewhere between heaven and hell, in a waiting room for eternity so to speak. He is reflecting on the relationship that defined much of his life. And that’s why he’s a trapeze swinger. Trapeze swingers take part in an act that cannot be done alone. They need someone else in order to be the performers they are. And the partner he depended on is the girl to whom he is singing. But she can’t hear him, because she’s still alive down on earth. In fact, I like to think she’s sitting in the back row at his funeral service. He’s looking down on her from heaven’s waiting room, waiting patiently for his name to be called. He wishes so badly she could hear him. To him, the circus of life now appears to be nothing more than a baby’s dream.
He died young. He hadn’t seen the girl since the summer after high school, but he had never stopped loving her. After all, they grew up together. They used to play together as kids! Then, in high school, they fell in love and started dating. Everything was great until the balancing act got complicated, and she left town for college. She ended the relationship that summer, leaving him and their hometown behind. When she heard the news of his death (a suicide?), she bought a plane ticket and flew home for the first time in a while. She wanted to attend his funeral.
The angels don’t understand what it’s like to leave the world. Because they live in a place where there is no death, where seasons don’t change. They’ve come to see humans passing through this place as another number to be processed, another sinner to be judged. Their handshakes are hurried. They don’t appreciate what it’s like for a boy to leave behind everything that mattered to him. To look back at life and see someone lit up by the city (of God) in all of her beauty, and yet not be able to speak to her even though she seems so close to him now.
“Don’t look down,” someone has spray-painted on the gates of heaven. It’s a warning not to look down at those on earth due to the heart break that will ensue. But he disregards the warning and continues peering down at her from “the window of the tallest tower.” He calls to her, but he is much too high to be heard. A specific memory comes to mind: a Halloween during high school, their faces painted white. They were ghosts that year. They drank; they pranked their neighbors; they embarrassed themselves, so drunk they “forgot themselves.” Yet now that he really is a ghost, he pleads with her: never forget the time we forgot about each other.
She broke up with him because he was unhappy with himself. He wasn’t willing to trust the swinging trapeze in front of him. He wouldn’t let go of his hometown and reach out for the next thing, like she did. (Ironic because, as kids, they used to imagine adventures together.) Their future turned out differently than he envisioned; the “frightened” trapeze swinger instead clung to what he knew. He relates to animals that chase after distractions, after things they can’t catch: the rain, trains, the colored birds above them. They run in circles. It’s futile, but who the hell can see forever?
Finding himself in a place where seasons never leave, he takes solace in the graffiti that promises the two of them will come together again. Maybe he can’t reach her now, but, someday, she will find herself in this very waiting room. And so he too will spray paint on the pearly gates. He will draw a boy and girl (him and her), God (trust) and Lucifer (fear), a monkey (who he used to be) and a man (who he’s come to be), an angel (her) kissing on a sinner (him).