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Royals Rumblings - News for December 18, 2023

The Royals upgrade their pen.

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MLB: World Series-Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylon Thompson covers the official signing of reliever Chris Stratton.

Stratton, like fellow new arrivals Will Smith and Nick Anderson, will likely be used in high-leverage situations. Smith is likely going to be the Royals’ opening day closer.

“We love the way his fastball plays,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said of Stratton. “It’s a high-spin fastball and a swing-and-miss fastball. Over 30% strikeout rate on that pitch. And his curveball for years has been regarded as one of the best in the game. He’s got two other pitches to go with that.”

Anne Rogers has more.

A conversation with Smith didn’t hurt, either.

“He’s one of those guys you love to have in the locker room and the bullpen,” Stratton said. “That veteran presence that you need, just the communication that you have. … He’s been through the wringer. He’s [been to] three World Series in a row, and he’s a good one to follow. You figure out where he’s going, you want to go there too, and hopefully the free agents keep coming.”

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter wonders if Hunter Renfroe is a good fit.

Beyond Olivares though, it should also be known that Renfroe is NOT a long-term solution in the outfield for Kansas City.

If anything, Renfroe is a stopgap and insurance for the Royals lineup as Velazquez, Waters, and Tyler Gentry acclimate to the Major League level.

If two of those three make a splash, and if Renfroe bounces back at the start of the year (which has a tendency to do; he produced a 126 wRC+ last April), then it’s likely that Renfroe will be playing in another uniform by September or in 2025 at the latest.

Preston Farr at Farm to Fountains projects numbers for the revamped starting rotation.

Arizona re-signs outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a three-year, $42 million deal.

MLB names its all-MLB teams.

Shohei Ohtani is up for playing the outfield.

Free agent Cody Bellinger is looking for over $200 million.

The Mets again meet with free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto, with the Yankees up next.

The Padres could cut payroll under $200 million.

The Mariners are interested in free agent Rhys Hoskins.

Scott Boras denies rumors that the quality of life of the city of San Francisco has made it a less attractive free agent destination.

The White Sox are a cautionary tale on how not to build depth.

Former big league outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will finally retire from baseball in Korea after next season.

Aaron Rodgers will reportedly be medically cleared this week.

Texas defeats Nebraska to win the NCAA women’s volleyball championship.

Has Netflix won the streaming wars?

Lax moderation has allowed users to “review bomb” books at Goodreads.

20 great Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies.

Your song of the day is Led Zeppelin with Thank You.