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Royals Rumblings - News for December 1, 2021

New month, who dis?

Pant pant pant
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

Nicky Lopez said he’s open to playing somewhere other than shortstop, and also shared his feelings on being left out of the Gold Glove finalists:

“Yeah, it was tough, kind of a sour taste in my mouth because do I think I put together a good campaign this year? I do,” Lopez said Monday in a conference call after he won the Royals’ Joe Burke Special Achievement Award for 2021. “I think it was a little bit more special because the past couple years I’ve been playing second base, and to go over to play short and play it well and lead the league in multiple categories, but then nothing to show for it. Kind of a little sour taste in my mouth.

“But like I said to numerous people, it’s in the past. There’s nothing I can change and we’ve got other things to look forward to and take care of. I was sick and tired of watching other teams play in October. I want to play in October, I want our team to play in October. So it was one of those things, I had a sour taste in my mouth for a couple days but then I had to flip the switch and be like ‘All right, how can we how can we get to where we want to be?’”

Quad Cities manager Chris Widger was named Baseball America’s minor league manager of the year:

Perhaps Widger’s biggest challenge was adapting to the hitting development program put in place by the Royals starting in the fall of 2019. It forced coaches in the system to assimilate the use of analytics and new ways for both teaching and evaluating hitting.

“I was brought up kind of old school,” Widger said. “It was a little bit of a change, and it was something that I had to get used to . . . But you see these players buy into it or you see how they work at it every day and they get routines down . . .

“You go to more of a process-based mentality as opposed to, ‘Did I get a hit?’ They’re more concerned with, ‘Did I swing at a strike?’ or ‘Did I hit the ball hard?’ ”

Widger successfully met the challenges while also maintaining the solid foundation instilled in him as a player. Adapting to the newer hitting technologies has allowed Widger to grow as a manager. He has a strong belief in his ability to combine the new with the old in his coaching methods.

“There was a lot more talk and communication . . . with the analytics part,” Widger said, “trying to incorporate everything that that department is trying to do, and then still trying to keep things baseball-oriented, trying to mesh the two.”

Catcher MJ Melendez was a guest on the StormCast, hosted by Storm Chasers broadcaster Jake Eisenberg. The conversation was wide-ranging, with Melendez sharing about how his hitting approach changed after his 2019 season; why he enjoys coaching kids’ clinics; why hitting home run #40 was his favorite memory of the 2021 season; pancakes.

Former Royals Billy Butler, Chad Durbin, and Cody Decker are among the players whose stories are in this Baseball America compilation of past interviews about navigating free agency.

A 14-team playoff is among the items up for discussion in CBA talks between MLB and the players’ union.

MLB reportedly used two different baseballs during the 2021 season.

MLB Trade Rumors rounded up all the tender deadline deals from yesterday.

The Tigers went out and signed Javier Báez to a $140 million dollar deal.

Infielder Lucius Fox is on the move again, being claimed by the Nationals just a few weeks after the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Royals.

How many of these 100 best baseball books have you read?

How do you pronounce “Omicron?”

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets that get used to melt and re-form into other plastic stuff. And when they spill, they’re an environmental disaster.

“Grazing tables” are a thing that are apparently not just “charcuterie, but bigger” and also not “a buffet,” I’m just now learning. But apparently you can appoint an entire grazing table with just different butters and some bread? This is all too much for me. Can’t my friends just come over and play Nintendo?

Speaking of learning new things: this week’s Reddit question is “What is a basic skill that you grew up thinking everyone had until you saw others do it so horribly?” And here’s a condensed version of some answers. I’m fascinated by the concept of “everyone knows,” because there are so many Things to Know in the world, and so many people! Why should “everyone” know how to mow a lawn, when millions of people live in apartments? Or know how to change a tire, when so many in big cities don’t have cars? It’s a fun thing to interrogate (usually inside my head, except right now) whenever I get aghast at someone not knowing something that “everyone” knows.

With all that said, please change your furnace filter if you have a furnace:

SOTD: George Michael rehearsing ‘Somebody to Love.’ Never gets old.