There wasn’t a single lick of news from an “official” source yesterday. That gives me a chance to feature some blogs
Lesky is batting leadoff. He does a batting profile of Maikel Garcia, compares him to his MVP cousin, and looks at what he needs to improve:
So why is a .272/.353/.358 hitting third baseman with -2 DRS who rates as a below-average baserunner seen as someone with a big future? There are underlying numbers that suggest much more for Garcia. We can start with the expected numbers. The xBA is in line with the actual average at .274. But the xSLG was .393, which is still not great, but an extra 35 points of slugging percentage is pretty significant. Adding that takes him from a fair amount below league average to a lot closer to league average offensively. So that alone is reason for some optimism.
Royals Reporter Kevin O’Brien looks at how much the Royals can reasonably expect to improve:
If Royals fans add the win improvement numbers together, they will get a 12.1 fWAR total.
At the very least, the Royals should be a 68-win team in 2024, which would put them on par with the 2022 Texas Rangers. If Royals fans want to be more optimistic, one could add the 12 wins to their 64 Pythagorean win total from 2023, which would then put their projection to 76 wins in 2024.
So on paper, the Royals are right around that 75-win total I have projected them for this season. To be honest, I am a little surprised by the fWAR projection totals for the Royals...
At KOK, Mike Gillespie proclaims that the Salvy “trade talk should stop now”:
That the Perez-to-Chicago rumors should stop became evident Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Sox are acquiring Martín Maldonado. Somewhat ironically, Maldonado caught half the 2019 season for the Royals while Perez rehabilitated from the Tommy John Surgery he underwent during spring training.
Chicago picking up Maldonado, a Gold Glove-winning backstop, should extinguish whatever dying embers remain of the speculation that Perez would team up in Chicago with Grifol and several other Royals alumni. The Sox probably aren’t bringing Maldonado in to backup someone else.
It also appears Perez won’t be a Marlin. Miami, whose catching requirements increased when the club didn’t pick up Jacob Stallings’ option, acquired Christian Bethancourt in a trade with Cleveland earlier this month, and Major League Trade Rumors suggests he’ll share duties behind the plate with Nick Fortes, an arrangement that would leave no room for Perez.
So now, with the White Sox and Marlins seemingly through looking for catchers, and with no other serious Perez suitors on the horizon, can’t the “Trade Salvy” talk end? It certainly should.
Also at KOK, Jacob Milham posits (I believe, incorrectly), that “KC Royals, small market MLB teams don’t need a salary cap to compete”. As he’s on the masthead, I say we have a fight to the death, using silly string, to settle this. Or just go read his article and he wins by default because he wrote an article and I did not.
Patrick Glancy at Powder Blue Nostalgia managed to work in some Gregg Jeffries talk before settling on Todd Van Poppel in an article about busts:
As a rookie in 1987, he was supposed to lead the defending champion Mets into the second stage of a dynastic run. Never mind that the Mets were never built for long-term success. Their clubhouse was super-talented, but way too combustible to last. None of that was Jefferies’ fault, but when he posted middling numbers and the Mets fell back to the pack, guess who got a lot of the blame? It should be pointed out that Jefferies did not always publicly comport himself in the best manner to help his case, but it probably wouldn’t have made much difference in the long run.
After the 1991 season, he was shipped to Kansas City as part of a three-player package for Bret Saberhagen. I’ve written about how this was one of the most heartbreaking days in my life as a Royals fan, but Jefferies was the one sliver of hope I clung to in the immediate aftermath. If he finally lived up to his potential, I thought, the deal might not be a complete disaster. He might even add his name to the list of Royals greats, if all went well. He didn’t have to be the next George Brett, but it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that a guy with his pedigree could join the ranks of Amos Otis, Willie Wilson, and Frank White. Unfortunately, he never really put it together until he moved onto St. Louis the following year.
These just go in another box so it looks like there are more stories as they aren’t blog entries.
The Corpus Christi Caller Times announced that Nick Loftin adds some local hardware:
Kansas City Royals infielder and Ray High School product Nick Loftin was named the 2023 Mike Adams South Texas Professional Player of the Year.
Loftin spent most of the 2023 season with Triple-A Omaha before having his contract selected by the Royals on September 1. With the Storm Chasers, he batted .270 with 13 doubles, 14 home runs, and 56 RBIs in 82 games. Loftin worked 34 walks against 47 strikeouts opposite International League pitching.
A couple of listicles from MLB? Sure, why not.
First, they put out their list of players they are most excited for in 2024:
Zack Greinke, RHP, FA
We need one more season of Greinke.
One of the best pitchers of his generation and one of the most interesting men in the baseball world deserves to cap off his career with one of pitching’s greatest milestones: joining the 3,000-strikeout club. Greinke has 2,979 K’s. He’s just 21 away. And you couldn’t pick a more deserving pitcher to do it. Reaching 3,000 strikeouts could put Greinke over the top as a Hall of Famer. And after him, Clayton Kershaw (2,944 K’s) and potentially Gerrit Cole (2,152 K’s), we might not see another 3,000-strikeout pitcher for a while.
It looked like Greinke might retire, but now the latest reports are that the 40-year-old is ready to pitch another year. Let’s find him a team and make Greinke 3,000 happen. Greinke getting his 3,000th strikeout would be one of the best moments of the 2024 season.
They also listed some statcast superlatives:
Fastest inside-the-park home run: Bobby Witt Jr., Royals: 14.29 seconds (Aug. 14)
Witt electrified the home crowd in Kansas City with the fastest home run of the season against the Mariners in August. The Royals’ young star reached a top sprint speed of 30.2 feet per second on his trip around the bases — anything 30 ft/sec or faster is elite speed — and got home in just 14.29 seconds. That’s the fourth-fastest inside-the-park home run of the Statcast era, and the fastest since Byron Buxton’s record 13.85 seconds on Aug. 18, 2017.
In response to this:
Left-handed reliever Tim Hill and the Chicago White Sox are in agreement on a one-year, $1.8 million contract, sources tell ESPN. Hill, 33, was nontendered by San Diego this winter and joins a White Sox bullpen where he’ll get plenty of higher-leverage opportunities and innings.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 28, 2023
1200 words is good enough for the last work day of the year, right?
How about some last week of the year thoughts:
We’re now into the part of the year where we can charitably be described as “Confused, Full of Cheese, Unsure of the Day of the week”.
Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" is about friends practicing witchcraft but then someone walks in and they have to suddenly play it cool pic.twitter.com/0FscqecVzW— Ryan George (@theryangeorge) December 11, 2019
Since we’re into the Twelve Days of Christmas, here’s an “older” song on the topic: