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Royals Rumblings - News for July 22, 2021

I even named them. Des and Troy.

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Kansas City Royals right fielder Jorge Soler (12) is congratulated by third base coach Vance Wilson (right) after hitting a home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth at American Family Field.
Kansas City Royals right fielder Jorge Soler (12) is congratulated by third base coach Vance Wilson (right) after hitting a home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth at American Family Field.
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for July 22, 2021

Are the Royals finally thinking about trading Whit Merrifield? Maybe. It’s a little complicated, per Jayson Stark.

The Royals appear more open than in the past to trading All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield, who is batting .272 with a .726 OPS, leads the majors with 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts and remains one of the game’s bigger bargains.

Merrifield, 32, is owed the rest of his $7.25 million salary this season and $3.25 million next season, and his contract includes an $11 million club option in 2023 (he took less money in ’22 to protect against a possible lockout). The Royals, though, have told other teams they believe they are close to contention, and are signaling that they do not want to trade established major leaguers for prospects who might not join them for three or four years. That could make it difficult for them to match up with clubs that have expressed interest in Merrifield.

Alec Lewis has his regular talk with J.J. Picollo, Assistant GM for the Royals, about Nick Pratto, Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, and more.

How much of the organization’s evaluation had to do with watching how they responded to the way pitchers, whom they’d already faced multiple times, were adjusting to them?

Both of these guys represent different scenarios. This is Bobby’s full season, whereas Nick is coming off of a year where we can all say he didn’t perform the way he’s capable of.

As far as the adjustments, a lot of teams we’re playing in Double A are teams we played in spring training. So they were pitched tough out of the chute. They didn’t have poor results, but they didn’t have the results they were having over the last six weeks. Even with that, there’s that cat-and-mouse game that goes on when you face the same pitchers. We were playing six-game series, so they’re seeing the same relievers in one series. You get one starter twice most of the time. Then you’re playing multiple series against the same teams. So the adjustments they have to go through are happening a lot quicker now than they have in a normal year. And you throw in the data, too, that every team has. Now you come in with a full game plan right out of the get-go, and you have to adjust, and these guys did that.

A small example is: Two weeks ago, Nick wasn’t swinging the bat as well. He makes a couple of adjustments. And he’s right back on track. Those are the things that tell you a guy is maturing as a hitter and is ready for the next challenge.

Ryan O’Hearn’s home run on Tuesday was particularly memorable for him.

About 20 or so of those in the stands cheered their hearts out.

They were members of O’Hearn’s extended family, many of whom live in Wisconsin. His father was one of eight kids, and he was the only one to leave the Badger State.

O’Hearn was born in Florida and moved to Texas as a teenager. But his family made frequent trips to Milwaukee, and even took in a Brewers game when American Family Field opened in 2001 as Miller Park.

“I never lived in Milwaukee, but we came up here all the time to see the family, so kind of like a second home,” O’Hearn said after Tuesday’s game. “We made a trip up here every offseason to see the Packers play. I remember coming to the stadium right when it first opened when I was just a kid and remembering how cool it was. So kind of full circle to come back and hit a big homer in front of the family.”

Michael A. Taylor is day to day with left wrist discomfort.

Taylor was removed for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning on July 21 with what manager Mike Matheny referred to as a “stinger” in his left wrist. Matheny said he noticed something “didn’t look quite right” during Taylor’s at-bat in the top of the fifth, and Taylor told the staff his wrist was tightening up when he came off the field after the bottom of the frame. X-rays were negative, and Kansas City plans to use Thursday’s off-day to evaluate further.

Question of the Day

The Milwaukee Bucks just won a championship for the first time in 50 years. If you were to gift a championship to a sports franchise that you don’t have any particular rooting interest in, what sport and what franchise would that be?

Song of the Day