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Weekend Rumblings - News for January 13, 2024

Where does Nick Pratto fit in now?

Tampa Bay Rays v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Paul Casella at MLB.com looks at the Royals’ depth at first base.

There will be somewhat of a roster crunch come Opening Day, and Pratto might be on the outside looking in due to both the club’s infield depth and the Hunter Renfroe signing likely pushing Pratto out of the outfield picture.

Pratto’s defense is outstanding at first base, and he did well in the outfield corners when given opportunities last year. Offensively, he hasn’t been able to take advantage of the opportunities he has gotten in the lineup. Pratto posted just a .660 OPS in 95 games last year, and he struck out at a whopping 40% clip. The 25-year-old was known for his plate discipline in the Minors, but he simply did not swing the bat enough last year.

Pasquantino has first base locked down, and as detailed above, the Royals have backup options. Pratto, a former first-round Draft pick, is going to have to really earn his way onto the roster in Spring Training.

David Lesky compares the Royals signings to how the market has played out recently.

Renfroe is a little tougher because very few outfielders have signed. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., my top choice, got three years and $42 million from his previous team. What’s the number for the Royals in that case? Is it $51 million? I don’t know. I think I’d take the bounceback at a small cost option there. I’d certainly rather have Andrew McCutchen at $5 million for a year, but that’s a Pittsburgh deal and a homecoming, so I don’t think that’s anything the Royals would have even been offered. The other two deals are for Harrison Bader and Kevin Kiermaier. I might take either over Renfroe, but they’re not really comparable, so I guess that’s a TBD.

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter compares the signings to what Marcus Stroman got from the Yankees.

Now, some Royals fans may wonder why didn’t Picollo pony up a little more for Stroman after giving out $16 million per year for Wacha and $15 million for Lugo?

My guess is that Stroman was asking a lot more from the Royals in the negotiations process and the Royals walked away and settled on those amounts with Wacha and Lugo. If Stroman was willing to settle for $18.5 million per year with the Yankees, he probably was asking somewhere in the $20 million AAV range with the Royals at the very least.

Craig Brown wraps up the last month of news and reacts to the latest stadium drama.

The key takeaway from all of this is there still aren’t any plans with what the teams will do with the money. Seriously. There isn’t a site for a new ballpark, nor have the Chiefs said what “improvements” they’ll make to their stadium. This is very much a “give us money now and we’ll work the details later” kind of a shakedown.

The Royals are expected to sign two of the top 20 international prospects on Fangraphs’ rankings.

Jacob Milham at Kings of Kauffman talks to John McMillon about preparing for the season.

The Giants sign Jordan Hicks to a four-year, $44 million deal as a starter.

Matt Davidson signs with Korea’s NC Dinos.

Braves executive Alex Anthropolous signs an extension through 2031.

Why the Dodgers aren’t a lock for the post-season.

Four prospects who could use a change of scenery.

The Dodgers hire Raúl Ibañez as vice president of baseball development and special projects

What would an NBA-style in-season tournament look like in baseball?

How did the pitch clock affect pitchers in 2023?

Could Bruce Bochy’s return to baseball serve as a template for Bill Belichick?

Kalen DeBoer will become Alabama’s new football coach, coming over from Washington.

The Patriots hire Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick.

Are there too many chatbots?

Surfers play a key role in ocean rescue.

eBay will pay $3 million to a couple that was sent live spiders, cockroaches and other disturbing items by employees for bad reviews.

Your song of the day is Cheap Trick with I Want You to Want Me.