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Royals Rumblings - News for March 25, 2022

Today’s Rumblings definitely weren’t thrown together between basketball games last night

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Where’s my helmet go?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If Tweets don’t show up well on your screen, sorry in advance. There were a lot of stories that came from Twitter today.

The Royals improved to 5-0-1 in Cactus League play.

Daniel Lynch started and pitched 2 2/3:

Lynch made some mistakes — the slider that Joey Votto rocketed over the right-field wall missed its spot in the first inning — but he also came back to settle in and pitch more aggressively, finishing the third inning better than he started the first. The defense didn’t help with an error and a fielder’s choice that didn’t result in an out, and Lynch saw some bad-luck balls land for hits. But his takeaway was overall positive.

“There’s nothing like getting out there,” Lynch said. “The adrenaline, on the field with the fans in the stands. You’re playing another team. That was good to just to feel that.”

Bobby Witt Jr. (who?) hit another home run and Vinnie Pasquantino walked the Royals off for a 5-4 win.

“Apparently all he has to do is make contact and it’s going over the fence,” Vinnie Pasquantino said about his teammate. “I get to joke around with him here, but he’s doing what he loves, which is really why I like watching it. You can tell how much he loves doing what he’s doing.”

Lynn Worthy at The Star also covering the game:

“I think my delivery got a little bit away from me, but I did do a good job of bringing it back in,” Lynch said of his takeaways from the outing. “So that would be a positive takeaway. And maybe next time, not lose it for two batters. Have a couple pitches. Realize it. And rein it back in. “But that’s definitely an improvement from last year where the delivery could get away from me for an inning at a time and I wouldn’t realize it and [pitching coach] Cal [Eldred] would have to tell me. So that would be, obviously, a negative thing to walk someone, but a positive thing that I was able to come back and not let that inning get away.”

Worthy also profiles veteran reliever Brad Peacock:

“I just told them that whatever they need me to do, I’m willing to do,” Peacock said of signing with the Royals. “If they need me in the bullpen, long man, whatever, I’ll start. “My arm feels back to normal. Last year was kind of rough coming back from surgery, but I feel back to normal now. I feel good to go for whatever they need me to do.”

The Royals covet versatility. It’s part of what made veteran right-hander Ervin Santana so valuable last season. He could make spot starts, pitch in long relief or pitch in shorter relief outings. Peacock has pitched in similar roles before.

Alec Lewis with the first of two from The Athletic:

Here’s a bonus Athletic article about an ex-Royal:

Wait a second. That’s like 20 minutes north of San Antonio. Dude, I am so there, maybe sometime this summer or fall. /scribbles note into future travel spreadsheet/

Affeldt was always a good dude in the autograph lines after games. I swear, I have a half dozen things signed by him. My baseball life partner had a ball that he brought to get signed and I think Jeremy signed it 3 different times across the course of a few years.

There were a couple of NLBM stories of note yesterday:

Were you one of the 7K+ fans who attended the museum in February? Then part of this giant novelty check was from you!

Unfortunately, they will also be adding another sad article, marking our racist past and present:

Since at least February 2021, though, that marker has looked much different. It was then, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a reckoning over race in the United States, that locals discovered that the plaque celebrating Robinson’s beginnings had been peppered with gunfire. It was the latest marker recognizing Black Americans to have been vandalized in Georgia in recent years.

Onto Royals blogs.

Craig Brown writes “The case for Kyle Isbel” and dissects his swing:

There are some similarities in the swings, but the differences are what powered Isbel to a much better month. The hip slide in the above gif has him seemingly off balance to where he pops up an elevated fastball. While the pitch in the gif from September is lower, you can still tell how eliminating the hip slide has let to better bat control, allowing him to get a meatier part of the barrel on the ball.

At Royals Farm Report, Alex Duvall looks at potential college players the Royals could snag at #9:

Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly

++ Hit tool

+ Raw power

Switch hitter

Might have to move to 3B long-term

This might be the last time that I include Lee on this list. He’s simply hitting way too well to think he could still be available at #9. Lee is slashing .430/.531/.785/1.316 with 4 HR and 14 doubles. He’s walked 18 times and struck out just 5. The big three prep bats may go first, second, and third overall in June, but Lee has as good a chance as anyone right now for the fourth pick.

With options limited to 5, what will Edward Olivares do in 2022? The Royals Reporter, Kevin O’Brien, tackles this question:

In all honesty, if the Royals are not going to use him because they do not see him as a future player, then they should simply trade him and see if they could get some kind of bullpen asset or perhaps another high-level prospect, especially at centerfield who may be defensive-focused. The Royals lack center field options in the upper minors, and it seems obvious that the Royals do not believe that Olivares could play the position full time at Kauffman Stadium in the near future.

In many ways, Olivares’ story feels a lot like Brett Phillips and Brian Goodwin, who were talented outfielders who the Royals acquired from other organizations, but failed to garner a lot of faith with the organization in one way or the other.

While Phillips and Goodwin didn’t quite turn out to be full-time regular players after they left Kansas City, they have found niche roles off the bench for various clubs over the past couple of years. Goodwin producing some solid moments with the Angels in 2019 and the White Sox in 2021, and Phillips had a World Series moment in 2020 against the Dodgers.

Beyond the Box Score penned their Royals season preview. They have the team coming in at 80-82:

All in all, the Royals are slowly crawling back to contention, but they are not quite there yet until they can develop some pitching. They have the prospects: now they have to show they can give them the necessary tools to succeed against the best hitters in the world.

I am fairly confident that the Royals can finish with a better record than the Cleveland Guardians, and may be able to challenge the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers if they can get something out of Singer, Kowar, Lynch, and Bubic. They are more of a 2023 or 2024 play, though.

Darin Watson’s look back at 1977 continues:

At the owners’ meeting in Tampa, representatives from both leagues seemed receptive to interleague play, beginning in 1978. With the American League expanding to 14 teams in 1977, and the National League stuck at 12, there was a plan to move an AL team–most likely the Oakland A’s–to Washington, D.C. and to the NL. That followed a rumor that other owners would try to buy out Oakland owner Charlie Finley. There was less enthusiasm for a three-division setup in both leagues.

I’m not sure if this qualifies at bloggery or whatnot, but Yahoo’s Zach Crizer scoops up some internet takes about how Bobby Witty Jr.’s home run swing looks like Mike Trout’s.

Royals blog roundup:

Around MLB, transactions continue to trickle in:

Some side Posnanski I found while futilely looking for said article:

See, in the years that have passed, though, I’ve developed a theory about what happened in 2006 — it’s a a theory I often apply to difficult decisions. I call it the Option J theory. I remember something Ladnier told me during the madness: “I’d rather lose my job making the right choice than keep my job making a choice based on public opinion.”

The Royals were TRYING to make the right decision under the most bizarre and extreme circumstances. And in that setting, I’m sure they went round and round and round on their choices, to the point where none of them sounded too good. My guess is that they had gone over each player so many times that they could only see the negatives. They could only the injury risk with Lincecum. They could only see the low ceiling with Lincoln. They could only see the inconsistent delivery of Miller. And so on. And so on.

And — haven’t you been here when making a decision? — you finally get to the point where you’re not excited about any of your choices. Option A? Blech. Option B? Worse. Option C? Gross. You need something totally different, something entirely out of the box … you need Option J.

And then … Luke Hochevar became available. Whoa! Who would have thought that? He was supposed to be on the Dodgers. He was supposed to be out of reach. And that idea started sounding pretty good. And then they went to see Hochevar pitch independent ball and … whoa! He looked good! Electric stuff! And, suddenly, the Royals saw a way out of their mess. They could just take Option J. Option J flopped because Option J always flops.

This was cute. Roger Clemens has visited Detroit Spring Training the past couple of years as the Tigers drafted his son. Well, yesterday...

“They roasted me,” Clemens said with a laugh.

In the meeting, the team showed the video of a 20-year-old rookie named Miguel Cabrera homering off Clemens in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, capping an at-bat that began with a fastball up and in.

“We talked about uncomfortable at-bats,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He threw at [Cabrera’s] face, and then Miggy took him deep. The boys had fun with that.”

It was a valuable lesson, but they didn’t stop there. “We also learned that [Hall of Famer Alan] Trammell owned him, and that I took him deep,” Hinch added. “We made sure Roger was reminded of all that.”

Considering Clemens is supposedly a jerk of the highest order, that’s kindof funny.

I didn’t realize Dave Roberts’s job was in jeopardy. But you don’t usually say things like this unless you’re going to win the World Series or get fired trying:

During the interview with Patrick, the host asked Roberts to finish this sentence: “The Dodgers will win the World Series if ...”

Roberts’ response? “We play a full season and there is a postseason. We are winning the World Series in 2022. I know where you are going with that. We will win the World Series this year. Put it on record.”

Finally, Forbes came out with their franchise valuations. The Yankees are on top once again at a whopping $6 billion (with a B) valuation. Let’s take a look at them as an example of how bad the owners have it, after all we heard during the lockout. They had an operating loss of $40M last year, one of 10 teams with an estimated loss last year. That’s a lot of money. Meanwhile, their franchise valuation went up 14%, which, using calc.exe and my sleepy brain, comes out to an increase of... $736M! So, yeah, they lost $40 in revenue while the franchise value went up more than $700M. Boo hoo.

Well, how about the Royals? Forbes estimates them at 28th, worth $1.11 billion, an increase of 5% with operating income of $47M. So, again, using sleepy math skills and calc.exe, that gives me an increase of almost $53M in franchise valuation and $47M in operating income for a cool increase of $100M last year.

In a year that had limited fans due to the pandemic.

For a team that was not very good.

In one of the smallest markets in baseball.

And with a work stoppage looming.

Is that inequity a problem for competitive balance? Heck yeah! But any system that takes more money out of the players hands just puts more money into the hands of the George Steinbrenners and John Shermans of the world who already have assets worth $1B+. So, how about a system where we aren’t using city and state revenues to finance stadiums for these people - going to cost more to build a stadium in NYC than in KC - so that will help level the playing field some. And we can keep those taxes at home in the community with schools, police, fire, public transportation, and other public services? How about some way to keep tickets cheaper? Hah! Instead, we’re inundated with blather about millionaires vs billionaires. I’m not going to begrudge someone the chance to make money. But I’m also not going to give them one iota of sympathy when they try to pretend they are losing money, try to strike a deal with players that is less fair than the other leagues and their players, or pass the hat in the community for a stadium, especially when they’re still going to charge top dollar for those tickets.

I’ve been listening to the Chrono Trigger soundtrack this week so we’re going to revisit that one. I was looking for the track “Magus Confronted” (or “Battle with Magus”, depending on your track translations) and I stumbled across this fan remake of the battle with a 2 1/2D engine. I thought it was pretty fun: