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Weekend Rumblings - News for February 29, 2020

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for February 29, 2020

Alex Gordon understands he may have to take a seat on the bench in favor of younger players, writes Jeffrey Flanagan.

Gordon started sitting about once a week over the final six weeks. And he knows that could be the case in 2020.

“I know it might happen,” Gordon said. “If they ask me, I really don’t want days off. But I’m a team player. If they like a matchup better and want to put me on the bench, I’m happy to do it. I’m sure I’ll be on the same page [with Matheny].”

Alec Lewis has ten observations from the early stages of spring training.

4. López, Sparkman have started strong

Jorge López earned the fifth-starter nod out of camp last year, and Glenn Sparkman would take a turn in the role later in the season. Both struggled; as starters, López had a 6.57 ERA and Sparkman had a 6.31 ERA.

While not quite as dire as it was last season, starting pitching depth remains an issue, but the Royals haven’t forced López or Sparkman into starter roles. With Sparkman in the bullpen, the Royals see an uptick in, well, everything.

“Helping him think on shorter terms,” Matheny said. “(I think) he’ll come in with his very best stuff to get guys out.”

Lewis also does a Q&A and talks about the defense.

A lot has been made about the Royals moving Whit Merrifield to center and Hunter Dozier to right to allow Maikel Franco to play third base. But the Royals have Rusty Kuntz, arguably one of the best teachers of the outfield there is. So they’re confident. In the infield, Nicky Lopez has shown premier defensive potential at second. Mondesi has been great at shortstop. And Salvador Perez, of course, is your catcher. So the Royals, I believe, are very comfortable with where things set defensively, especially knowing who they may have off the bench in Bubba Starling or Brett Phillips to play the outfield. I don’t believe that should be a worry as it relates to the young pitchers.

Clint Scoles at Royals Academy looks at a potential bullpen candidate.

It’s extremely early in the spring race but Josh Staumont is building a pretty good lead through his three appearances. The right-hander has pumped 99 mph or higher in each of his appearances with just one walk and no hits allowed. Coming into the spring the odds weren’t the best for Staumont to make the bullpen out of spring training because he has options available and teams are always looking to keep hold of inventory.

Mike Rosenbaum at MLB Pipeline has a top 20 Royals prospects list.

Alex Duvall at Royals Farm Report has his list of prospects #3-6 in the farm system.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen will open the season on the injured list.

The Red Sox are looking for starting pitching depth.

Are the Astros really being plunked on purpose this spring?

How teams tried to stop the Astros from stealing signs.

Embracing the romance of spring training.

Lawmakers push for Curt Flood to be in the Hall of Fame.

How a terrible college baseball team invented the shift 25 years ago.

MLS owners predict the league will surpass MLB.

David Ortiz is selling a lot of memorabilia.

The NCAA proposes a two-minute limit on replay reviews for football.

How some NFL trade rumors could end up.

An NSA phone-monitoring program cost $100 million and yielded two leads.

How an artist fooled Google Maps into thinking there was a traffic jam.

Your song of the day is Ornette Coleman with R.P.D.D. (Relation of the Poet to Day Dreaming)