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Royals Rumblings - News for December 7, 2022

It’s your favorite day of the week again

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Ready for their close-up!
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

If you missed it last night, the Pirates won first pick in the draft lottery that sent the Royals down to the #8 spot.

At the Kansas City Star, Lynn Worthy took a look at what Adalberto Mondesi’s role will be in what might be his final Royals season:

Picollo expressed optimism that Mondesi would not lose speed after the knee surgery. Picollo said club officials won’t have a set plan for Mondesi’s role or usage this season until things play out at spring training.

Mondesi could get used on the infield at shortstop, third base or second base. The outfield could also be an option.

Picollo said he had not yet had any in-depth discussions with manager Matt Quatraro about Mondesi’s specific role in 2023. The GM said the team would be “open minded.”

“We’re just going to be open to whatever it is we can get out of him,” Picollo said. “We’ve got one year left with him. We just want, for us and for him, to get him on the field as much as we can.”

Though commissioner Rob Manfred claimed at the All-Star break that all baseballs used in the 2022 MLB season were the same, astrophysicist Dr. Meredith Wills discovered that there were actually three. Additionally, as reported by Bradford William Davis at Insider, the league tried to dissuade players from giving her baseballs to study:

According to Wills’ data, MLB deployed this third baseball alongside the dead ball in 2022, with production starting as early as January – six months before Manfred promised a one-ball season. This new third ball’s weight centers somewhere between the juiced ball the league phased out last season and the newly announced dead ball: It is on average about one-and-a-half grams lighter than the juiced and one gram heavier than the dead. According to the league’s own research, a heavier ball tends to have more pop off the bat, meaning the third ball would likely travel farther than a dead ball hit with equal force.

While we accumulated 204 baseballs from 22 big league parks in 2022 – more than Wills has obtained in any of her previous studies – MLB also made sure it wasn’t easy. One player told Insider that one of Manfred’s top lieutenants warned a players’ union official not to let players send any balls to Wills for “third-party testing” and warned that the league could fire any non-union team employees who helped her research. Nonetheless, we amassed baseballs from sources around the league, and supplemented our sample by purchasing balls caught by fans and from licensed vendors at ballparks.

(It is worth noting that all the balls we obtained fell within the legal specifications in MLB’s rulebook. But as league-commissioned physicist Alan Nathan once said, “The specs on Major League baseballs, they almost don’t deserve to be called specs…They’re so loose that the range of performance from the top end to the bottom end is so different.”)

San Francisco signed outfielder Mitch Haniger to a 3-year deal. This came after Jon Heyman tweeted and then retracted news that the Giants were landing Arson [sic] Judge.

Speaking of the outfield market, Anthony Franco at MLB Trade Rumors mentioned that the Dodgers, Rockies, and Reds are in the market for center fielders. Michael A. Taylor, perhaps?

Cody Bellinger is headed to the Cubs on a one-year contract.

The Texas Rangers will add Andrew Heaney to their rotation that just gained Jacob deGrom.

The Phillies signed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker four four years.

David Price, 37, won’t pitch in 2023, but that is not a retirement announcement.

First baseman Josh Bell is coming to the AL Central, as the Guardians signed him for $33 million over two years.

Will any change in baseball streaming access come from this?

A lovely profile of researcher Sarah Langs, who loves baseball more enthusiastically than just about anyone, as she deals with her ALS diagnosis.

Shenanigans on the set of NBA on TNT?! Why, I never:

An update from an Ask a Manager reader who wrote a letter from inside Twitter as the poo hit the fan.

An interview with an author who wrote a book about how surveillance is affecting truck drivers, and it means for everyone’s future of work.

Weekly(ish) space item!!

Today’s off-topic question: How do you clean your house? Not, like, instructions for each chore, but more like: what is your schedule or system for making sure stuff gets done? Do you have a formal chore rotation? The FlyLady method? Unfuck Your Habitat?

SOTD: Jo Dee Messina - Heads Carolina, Tails California