I should have more SBNation links in Friday Rumblings. David Gibson of Brew Crew Ball gives a good story today, profiling “Milwaukee Brewers trade target: Danny Duffy:”
Danny Duffy was a once vaunted starting pitcher that was perceived with high regard as recently as 2018. He is a prime candidate for a return to something approaching previous norms, especially if he is able to continue getting his walk rate down, increase his change up usage, and possibly tweak some mechanics and/or focus to get the type of bite on his slider and curve that he is capable of.
Brendan Gawlowski at Fangraphs chronicled Glenn Sparkman’s recent success with the slider and the Indians adjustment to it. It helps show just how cat-and-mouse that baseball can be.
In his first start after the break, Sparkman turned in the best performance of his career, shutting out the White Sox with a career high eight strikeouts. Again, the slider was key to his success. He threw it 33 times and notched 10 whiffs. At its best, the pitch’s late action had batters swinging over the ball as it disappeared below the zone...
Unlike Washington and Chicago, Cleveland was ready. Terry Francona loaded his lineup with seven lefties and the Indians were patient when he tried to expand the zone south. The slider is a tough pitch to execute in the zone when you don’t have the platoon advantage, and sure enough, Sparkman couldn’t get anyone to bite. He missed just one bat with the slider, and hitters went 3-5 with a couple homers when they made contact on it.
MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan says the Royals are exercising patience with the trade deadline approaching next week.
Even though the Royals pretty much kicked off the trading season by dealing right-hander Homer Bailey on July 14 and catcher Martin Maldonado on July 15, the rest of the industry has mostly been silent.
One industry source said of the Royals, “It’s pretty obvious they’re just not going to give [Diekman and Hamilton] away. Like the other sellers, they’re waiting for something fair in return. And things just aren’t moving right now.”
Also, in MLB.com trade deadline news, Jon Paul Morosi says Whit Merrifield isn’t going anywhere.
Merrifield’s initial price tag was set extraordinarily high. The Royals would’ve had to receive the type of Major League talent that contenders wouldn’t give up during the middle of the season. The Royals have no contractual incentive to move Merrifield, who is under team control through 2023, and the team’s front office values him highly as an organizational tone-setter, on and off the field.
Speaking of Whit, Pete Grathoff passed along a story about how he wrote a note to Braves pitcher Jeremy Walker. Walker went to the same small North Carolina high school as Whit and was called up to the majors during the Royals series.
Jeremy Walker was recently called up by the #Braves. When he got to his locker this afternoon, he received a handwritten letter from Royals star Whit Merrifield. @KelsWingert has more. pic.twitter.com/mDuaw3XSY7— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) July 25, 2019
Also at the Star, Lee Judge wrote an article about how to increase your baseball IQ... ok, you got me. You know the rules.
For Fansided, Leigh Oleszczak keeps churning out articles for KC Kingdom, picking up the slack from the seemingly defunct KOK:
- FanGraphs predicts Ian Kennedy to Atlanta at deadline
- FanGraphs links Royals and Reds in Whit Merrifield trade
- Farm system looks to be improving
Four listicles this week, all with trade deadline themes.
At ESPN, Ian Kennedy shows up on David Schoenfield’s “MLB trade deadline tiers”:
15. Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals: After a decade as a starter, Kennedy has been a revelation in his first year in the bullpen. The advanced metrics in particular are big on the way he’s pitched, as he ranks high in exit velocity allowed and expected wOBA.
He also “Revisit[s] the worst deadline trade your team ever made”:
Kansas City Royals: Trade Carlos Beltran to the Astros, receive Mark Teahen, Mike Wood and John Buck in a three-way trade with the A’s (June 24, 2004)
Future WAR traded away: 44.9
WAR acquired: 7.8
Beltran was the big trade chip in 2004, a multitooled center fielder heading into free agency whom the Royals wouldn’t be able to sign. So you can argue the Royals received three players for a guy who was going to leave anyway. Still, Buck was the best of the group, a journeyman catcher. When trading a guy like Beltran, you hope to hit the lottery. The Royals failed to do that and they would follow 2004 with eight more losing seasons in a row.
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports has Whit at the top of his “Ranking the top 10 hitters who could move”:
1. Whit Merrifield
The problem with Whit Merrifield is that it’s almost impossible to get fair value for him in a trade. He’s a four-win player with enough defensive versatility to play anywhere and he’s locked in to an extremely team-friendly contract for the rest of his prime. The Royals have every right to ask for the moon, the stars, and a planet to be named later in return. They just probably won’t get it.
Finally, in his “Ranking the 50 best trade candidates”, Whit comes in 3rd behind Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman.
3. Whit Merrifield
We’re skeptical Merrifield gets moved. That said, he’s better than most people realize -- and he’s on a sweetheart contract. If the Royals do trade Merrifield, they have every right to demand a ton in return. Possible fits: Cubs and pretty much any other contender.
Other Royals on the list are: 49. Jake Diekman, 47. Ian Kennedy, and 45. Billy Hamilton.
Troy Tulowitzki retired yesterday due to injuries, cutting short his 13 year career. Anyone remember who he was even playing with now? Matt Snyder at CBS Sports makes the case that he’s one of the five best Rockies of all time, though short of the Hall of Fame.
The Astros found a taker for Tyler White after designating him for assignment last week. The Dodgers picked him up for some scrub, specifically RHP Andre Scrubb. I would have liked to see the Royals take a flier on him (Max also mentioned him yesterday).
A number of players share stories with ESPN’s Eddie Matz about “What it’s REALLY like to get traded”:
It was roughest on Lila, who was missing her favorite pajamas. Making matters worse, the toddler’s suitcase got lost on the flight from West Palm Beach to Cleveland. Inside it was a little bunny that’s known in the Hand household as Mr. Two. Soft and brown with little flowers on the ears, it was everything to Lila.
Craig Edwards at Fangraphs picks apart that wacky 8th inning between the Rays and Red Sox on Wednesday night.
And the Turkish government continues to make trouble for Enis Kanter.
I’ve really been wanting to do a new games this past month, but vacation and work have not been allowing me to so we’re still stuck on reruns. Here’s Final Fantasy IV’s “Theme of Love” from Theatrhythm. I love the clips used for the song: in this one, you basically get the entire plot of the game in 2 minutes if you know what you’re looking at.