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Royals Rumblings - News for July 31, 2023

Farewell, darling Nicky.

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Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Matt Quatraro praised Ryan Yarbrough for his start Sunday.

With Sunday’s start, Yarbrough lowered his July earned-run average to 2.19 and posted 15 strikeouts to just two walks in the month. Three of his four July starts were quality — minimum six innings, maximum three earned runs — and he fell just one out shy of a fourth back on July 19.

“He makes you make tough decisions at the plate,” Quatraro said. “He cuts it, sinks it, change up, breaking ball, soft contact — all this stuff that we knew he was capable of doing, and these last however many starts since he’s been back, they’ve all been the same.”

It is the first three-game winning streak for the Royals this year.

“I told them, ‘Nobody can keep us from winning three straight until August,’ so we had a little fun with it,” manager Matt Quatraro quipped. “These guys, you see it every day, they work, they come out and play hard. So to be rewarded with some wins, it’s something that’s really nice to see. Especially going into an off-day, nothing tomorrow, these guys deserve it.

J.J. Picollo discussed the acquisition of pitcher Taylor Hearn from the Braves for Nicky Lopez.

The Royals view Hearn as a reliever. He will head to Triple-A Omaha to iron out some mechanics and continue being evaluated by the pitching staff.

“We’ve got to work on his command a little bit, but the velocity is there,” Piccolo said. “The pitch characteristics are something we look for. The slider is good..”

Rustin Dodd at The Athletic grades the trade a “D” for the Royals.

It’s a peculiar trade for the Royals. Not because Lopez had that much value. His stock clearly cratered after he posted a .567 OPS over the last two seasons. But instead of taking a flyer on a younger prospect in the minor leagues, the Royals are acquiring a lefty reliever with a 5.26 ERA in 229 1/3 career innings and two more years of club control, same as Lopez.

In the end, it’s not the kind of deal that will make or break the Royals, which says a lot about state of their club.

Craig Brown tries to figure out the trade.

There’s some salary reliever there in that the Braves will assume the remainder of the $3.7 due to Lopez while the Royals will be on the hook for what is left of the $1.4 million owed Hearn. Was this really about salary, though? My god. Sure, Lopez was probably heading toward a non-tender after this season, but they basically gave him away. No offense to Hearn, but relievers like him are acquired the way the Braves went about it—by picking him off the DFA pile for cash. There were other teams (like the Giants) interested in Lopez. You cannot tell me that Hearn was the best return they could get. If that is the case, there’s literally no harm in walking away. Hold out for some 22-year-old minor leaguer with a slice of upside.

Anne Rogers provided an update on Brad Keller, who was returned from rehab assignment.

The right-hander began his rehab assignment on June 28 with Triple-A Omaha, but the day he had to finish his rehab assignment — the 30-day mark — the Royals returned him after he faced a setback with more symptoms of shoulder discomfort. Keller remains on the IL and is scheduled to meet with team doctors before determining the next steps.

David Lesky gives some thoughts on Quatraro.

Tactically, he tinkers with the lineup too much, in my opinion. I think he needs to slow down with that, but I think he will if and when he has the players for it. I would like a little more consistency with his starting pitcher usage. I think that’s something that can be learned. I wondered earlier this year if the Royals were a little too lackadaisical, which is a direct result of his leadership being potentially too player-friendly. I feel like things have been cleaned up there, but it helps that they’ve cleaned up the defense in general, so maybe that was an incorrect feeling to start and they just were terrible defensively. Either way, I think there is a learning curve no matter who you’ve worked under and how well-regarded you were coming into the season.

But I also think that the Royals did him no favors.

Texas acquires pitcher Max Scherzer from the Mets.

The Angels acquire first baseman C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Rockies.

St. Louis trades pitcher Jordan Hicks to the Blue Jays and pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton to the Rangers.

The Cardinals have also discussed sending outfielder Dylan Carlson to the Orioles.

The Cubs won’t be trading outfielder Cody Bellinger.

Mets GM Billy Eppler insists they aren’t having a fire sale.

Justin Verlander earns his 250th career win.

Could the Guardians trade pitcher Aaron Civale?

The Marlins are looking at Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres.

Outfielder Michael Conforto reaches his vesting option threshold and can opt out this fall.

The art of fouling off pitches has become lost.

Who could trade for Colts running back Jonathan Taylor?

Why the best boxers don’t draw the biggest crowds.

Meet the tick whose spit can make you allergic to meat.

America is drowning in packages.

The new Twisted Metal TV series is fun and dumb.

Your song of the day is The Doobie Brothers with What a Fool Believes.