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Royals Rumblings - News for February 5, 2021

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Happy... Day after Truck Day?

Kansas City Royals spring training
Spring Training will be soon!
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Yesterday was Truck Day! Spring Training is almost here!

Royals also agreed to some contracts yesterday:

Anne Rogers wrote about the stadium complex and the connection between the Chiefs and Royals at MLB.com.

Fearing that Finley would move the A’s, Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and team president Jack Steadman didn’t want a cookie-cutter stadium like they saw all over the country during that age — stadiums that would be built for both football and baseball teams. Denver architect Charles Deaton suggested building side-by-side stadiums for the two sports, with each stadium customized to its needs.

Salvador Perez made a Super Bowl bet with Florida native and former Royal Brett Phillips.

After PECOTA came out this week, old friend Craig Brown has looked at the offense and the pitching in different posts over at Into The Fountains.

A couple of final notes about PECOTA and projections in general. First, don’t take them too seriously. Really! They’re a nice diversion when the temperatures are below freezing, but as the mean kids like to say, they don’t play the games on a spreadsheet. These are snapshots based on past data. When the Royals are projected to have the fourth-best starting rotation in the five team AL Central that doesn’t mean they can’t be better. It just means a computer took the cold, hard data and came up with some numbers.

Also, I find that most projection systems have a difficult time getting a proper handle on players with less than two years of major league experience. That matters when you’re thinking about a starting rotation loaded with arms with limited time in the bigs. Give Lynch, Singer, et al a couple of years together in a rotation, and then let’s talk. For now, do I buy PECOTA thinking the Royals are the fourth-best rotation in the Central? Probably. But I’m willing to be surprised.

We don’t usually do a lot of Fantasy Baseball news around here. But it’s a slow week and Kevin O’Brien at Pitcher List had a story asking “Is ‘Soler Power’ Worth Investing in This Year?

It’s difficult to say whether or not Soler will be the “Soler Power” force again in 2021. However, 2020 is a limited sample size, and the fact that Soler was playing hurt through most of it should give hope that Soler is due for a bounce-back in 2021. If he is fully healthy and turning on balls pitched inside in 2021, much like he was in 2019, it’s more than possible that he can produce numbers that could hover around his 2019 metrics. A lot of skill-based data sets from 2020 demonstrate that he was better than his 2020 traditional numbers project, and he may be a better option than some other designated hitter alternatives lurking in the AL Central.

Kevin O’Brien? Why does that name sound familiar? Is he one of our Kevins? No, that’s not it. Oh, wait! Royals Reporter! There he asks “Can Pena, Lee and Isbel be the future of the Royals outfield?

Lee and Isbel could make their way to Kansas City in 2021 if the chips fall right for them, which in turn would meant the chips fell poorly for the Royals at the MLB level. Lee is the most likely of the three to be in Kansas City, barring injury, as he is currently on the 40-man roster, and would be up with the Major League team in September. Isbel on the other hand, who most likely will begin in Double-A Northwest Arkansas, could also challenge for a September call up. That being said, he would have to tear it up not only in Double-A, but also Triple-A as well to garner consideration for a spot on the 40-man (as well as the decline of another outfielder like Taylor or Cordero).

Finally, Fansided rounds out the Royals news:


A Trevor Bauer signing seems close now. There were rumors yesterday that him going to the Mets was a done deal. But as of this writing, the Dodgers are still in it, too. MYSTERY TEAM, anyone?

After he signed with the DBacks on Wednesday, Tony Wolfe at Fangraphs wrote a piece praising the underrated former Royal Joakim Soria.

Soria was one of baseball’s best closers in his very first season, and he held that distinction for four years. He had dominant half-seasons with the Rangers in 2014 and the Pirates in ’15 before rejoining the Royals, for whom he was again exceptional in ’17. He’s finished six of his 13 major league seasons with a FIP under 2.75. Maybe a large portion of the baseball-watching public is made up of Soria stans and I’ve just missed it — I am a younger guy who grew up watching NL teams, after all — but I get the impression he isn’t appreciated as much he probably should be. Relievers are supposed to be unpredictable, volatile power arms without much room for error when things start to go south. And yet, Soria has never provided reason for concern. He’s been a consistent late-inning force year after year, while making minimal tweaks to his arsenal.

Over the years, Soria has changed his No. 2 offering — at various times, it has been a cutter, changeup or slider — and how often he throws it. What’s remained consistent, though, is his four-seam fastball. That’s always been his primary pitch, and he’s relied on it even more of late. His three highest fastball rates of his career have all come in the past three years. That’s a bit surprising — though he hasn’t lost any meaningful velocity in his mid-30s, he also hasn’t picked any up. His fastball still rests in the low-90s, hardly in line with the power arms usually entering late in games. But Soria’s fastball works. Over the last three seasons, hitters have managed just a .301 wOBA against it. And that’s the pitch batters are hoping for a chance at, because their chances drop even further against Soria’s breaking stuff.

For the third straight year, MLB average salary fell, even after adjusting for games played:

The Major League Baseball Players Association said Thursday the 2020 average would have been $3.89 million if a full season had been played. That was down 4.2% from the 2019 average of $4.05 million and represented a 5.2% decrease from the record average of just under $4.1 million in 2017. The average started to slip in 2018, falling by $1,436.

Hannah Keyser at Yahoo and Alden Gonzalez and Jesse Rogers at ESPN talk about where we’re at with some of the rule changes for this coming season and into the future.

And this after the story in yesterday’s Rumblings where senior White House officials were trying to delay baseball a month to get everyone vaccinated but the MLBPA didn’t want to be in the same meeting with owners because they feared they would be pressured into doing something against their own interest.

I’m starting to get really worried that we’re not going to have baseball in 2022.


Let’s update the Gamestop saga from last week.

This time last week, we were talking about how on Thursday, the stock started at $347, jumped to $468, dipped to $126, and closed at $197. Friday, it closed at $325. This week, it started falling on Monday ($225) and Tuesday ($90). Wednesday, it recovered a little, before basically ending the day flat at $92. And yesterday it continued to drop, ending at $53 (though it’s still higher than it was 2 weeks ago at this time).

Let’s look at some of the sillier (dumber?) stories I’ve seen about this on r/wallstreetbets. Warning: it’s not the nicest subreddit out there with some offensive and vulgar language. I’ve kept it tame here but be warned before you click those links.

(Initial Thread) Some dude who goes by the user name “u/thicc_ladies_pm_me” got mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Only, what they claimed he was doing, margin trading on the stock, was not true and I think someone just wanted to take a swipe at the user name. An eagle eyed Redditor PMs him and posts the corrections department information for the Wall Street Journal. Update? Guess what? WSJ has corrected their article that misquoted me this week. : wallstreetbets Yesterday, there was, indeed, a retraction from the WSJ about, again, a dude with the user name u/thicc_ladies_pm_me. I also love the highest voted comment on that second one: “So it says here on your resume that you’ve been published in the Wall Street Journal twice?”

There has been a bit of trolling with regards to this saga. Someone posted instructions on getting digital billboards (hxxps://www.blipbillboards.com/) to r/wsb. It’s surprisingly cheap and easy - people were putting down as little as $20 to do a daily billboard. You don’t get the whole day but it’s part of the ad rotation for that day on the cheap. Someone made a collage of a number of them (top left not real): Collage of billboards purchased by you beautiful apes. : wallstreetbets. My favorite is the misspelled “APES TOGEHER” billboard in Oregon. There were ones in Times Square NYC, all around the United States (for instance: Oklahoma), and as far away as New Zealand. One user, upset about the trading platform Robinhood’s trading restrictions that many argue significantly depressed the price of the stock and played a huge part in killing the rally, paid to have a banner flown over their HQ that suggested they do something that would be anatomically inappropriate to mention on this upstanding blog.

Finally, one of the “celebrities” out of this saga is Keith Gill (you might not know that name but, if you’ve been following along with this story, you’ll know it in the end), a trader out of Boston who has been on Gamestop stock for a couple of years. His story is a perfect encapsulation of what I think r/wsb “aspires” to be. He bought a big chunk of Gamestop a couple of years ago because he believed in the fundamentals and in the company and took a bath on the investment initially. He posted his quarterly loss porn and was routinely mocked. However, he also noticed how it was getting shorted and increased his stake. As the stock exploded, he saw his investment go from about $200K down to $100K and up to $50M at its peak. He cashed out $13M and, at last update, still was holding a few million worth. He is on the list of people who would be requested to testify in the upcoming Gamestop hearing in Congress. If selected, his user name “DeepF—-ingValue” will, no doubt, be entered into the Congressional record at the February hearing.


I think, in light of the Superb Owl (or something like that) this weekend, it’s fair to go into the NFL Primetime well for this week. This is one of the more popular tracks, Gladiator by John Colby. No, I don’t know why it has Steelers and Ravens helmets. But if you knew how hard it was to track down some of this music until the last couple of years, you’d understand why it’s great that any videos are available at all.