Sigh. I guess I get to start with stadium talk again as that was the biggest news.
We’ll start with The Star story on this:
With only hours to spare Thursday, Jackson County Executive Frank White vetoed an ordinance that would have put a 3/8th-cent sales tax renewal on the April ballot to fund sports stadiums for the Chiefs and Royals.
Within 45 minutes of the veto being announced, four county legislators said publicly that they sided with White. That’s a key number because in order to override White’s veto, the County Legislature – which has nine members — would need six votes.
Together, these actions place doubt on whether anything more will be done to meet a Jan. 23 deadline to put the stadium tax decision in front of voters this spring.
The Royals and Chiefs put out this joint statement:
If you want to save the click on the Tweet: “We respect the County Executive’s veto authority. We will continue working with the legislators to ensure that this ordinance is on the ballot on April 2 so that Jackson County voters have the opportunity to decide on the extension of the current 3/8-cent sales tax”
Sam McDowell, who has been all over this for The Star has these follow up details:
This further cements what I was trying to explain last week. That 8-1 vote included legislators extending the timeline to reach agreements. It did not finalize that the measure would appear on the April ballot. And that is very much in doubt now. https://t.co/k3uenUsRRf— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) January 18, 2024
The Chiefs and Royals are still working toward the April 2 ballot. That will require, by Monday, flipping the decision of one of the four county legislators who publicly supported White's veto today. https://t.co/EhJIJOr8yp— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) January 18, 2024
Thomas Friestad at Kansas City Business Journal looks at the potential shape and size of a new Royals stadium at the Crossroads:
Central to the East Crossroads site is The Kansas City Star’s former offices and printing press at 1601 McGee St. Its owners, the Privitera family, have commissioned multiple reuse concepts for the two-block structure, but the ideas have no relation to the Royals’ planning.
Remaking the glass building into an apartment, entertainment or retail concept would present major financial challenges. The 4.7-acre property’s highest and best use is as a land site, according to a 2023 appeal of its $11 million market value with Jackson County.
From there, at least part of the Royals’ ballpark footprint probably would stretch west of the ex-Star building, to Grand Boulevard. Sources highlighted the Resurrection Downtown church, in particular, as a probable acquisition target for the Royals. The church owns about 2 acres composing a full block adjacent to the former printing press, southeast of 16th Street and Grand. Much of the site is surface parking, rather than an existing structure.
And, just so we get the stadium talk away from everything else, here’s a horizontal rule as a palate cleanser.
The Royals announced they have deals with their international free agents, including Yandel Ricardo.
We have agreed to terms with 18 international free agents. pic.twitter.com/RCFXSIfaaD— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) January 18, 2024
Blake Mitchell made MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 Catching prospects for 2024. Annoyingly, a player picked after Mitchell who has an earlier ETA is ahead of him on the list. Sigh.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Ethan Salas, Padres (2025)
2. Samuel Basallo, Orioles (2025)
3. Jeferson Quero, Brewers (2024)
4. Harry Ford, Mariners (2025)
5. Kyle Teel, Red Sox (2025)
6. Dalton Rushing, Dodgers (2025)
7. Blake Mitchell, Royals (2027)
8. Moises Ballesteros, Cubs (2026)
9. Edgar Quero, White Sox (2025)
10. Diego Cartaya, Dodgers (2025)
But Mitchell did have the best arm of the group:
Arm: Mitchell (70)The eighth overall pick in the 2023 Draft as a catcher, Mitchell would have merited top-two-rounds interest as a pitcher because he had an easy delivery that produced fastballs up to 97 mph, downer curveballs and promising changeups with tumble. His plus-plus arm strength will be a useful weapon as teams are looking to steal more often these days.
Anyone done one of these Coffee With Coaches?
Sign up for this Saturday's Coffee with Coaches with current Royals catching prospect Carter Jensen and his father, Jim! They will be discussing the relationship between a coach and a player that are also father and son!https://t.co/Op4VK1x6XP pic.twitter.com/v7dBeusi9q— Raising Royals (@KCRoyalsPD) January 17, 2024
It looks like there’s no cost - you just have to sign up in advance. Heck, if I were still in KC, I’d probably give a go to next week’s one with Alec Zumwalt talking about hitting.
This always feels like the most dead time of the offseason, but Royals blogs were surprisingly active this week
At Into the Fountains, Craig Brown talks about the stadium, Amazon, prospects, and more:
Yes, I’ve seen the Tweets from a local morning zoo talk radio host that says the White veto is certain to happen. I wrote last week that White was going to drop the veto on this. I mean, this is Frank White. It’s been obvious from the start of this process going back now a couple of years that White’s role in this is mainly to act as a roadblock. I can only speculate as to his reasons he would do this (although I am extremely confident in my speculation), and while I think handing out public funds for billionaire owners to build stadiums is a misuse of money, White really needs to get over himself and let the voters decide this issue. It’s up to the teams to convince the public that this is a good idea.
Sean Thornton shakes the dust off Bleeding Royal Blue for his first post in 9 months:
I will say that despite the Kansas City Royals being a very bad baseball team in 2023 (other synonyms for bad: awful, lame, terrible, disastrous and brutal, just to name a few) I didn’t mind watching them. It was a weird feeling knowing that Jordan Lyles was going to hop on the mound, give up 3-5 home runs, completely put the team in the tank and think ‘Well, he can’t start tomorrow, right?’. It was almost like I had this weird sense of serenity when watching the Royals since they were finally free of a false leader with a superiority complex. The team had chosen a new direction, one that felt right, that sounded right and while it looked wonky, it appeared to be a path that would lead to success.
Yes, I believe in the current path of the organization. I approve of the coaching hires, the pitching development program in the minors and I definitely think Matt Quatraro was a great hire. I still question J.J. Picollo as the Royals GM, although that has waned a bit this offseason. I definitely feel like the scouting department needs a major overhaul, but that’s an article for another time (let’s say two years from now? That work?). And I’m totally not a fan of the snake oil salesman known as the owner, John Sherman. But overall, the Royals have a solid foundation and there is hope in Kansas City again.
At Farm to Fountains, Preston Farr lists some “Royals prospects that you’re probably too low on right now”:
OF Carson Roccaforte
If you’ve followed me to any degree, you’ve almost certainly heard my thoughts on Carson Roccaforte. He was selected by the Royals in Comp Round B last summer. A late riser within draft circles, Roccaforte showed off impressive batted ball data for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He offers a nice mix of everything, from sound defense to a great approach and good contact ability. The one thing that didn’t come through last season at Low-A was his power potential. With a full offseason of work under his belt, expect Roccaforte to take a step forward next season for High-A Quad Cities.
He’s a sure thing to stick in center long-term and great defense gives him a rather high floor. He’s still somewhat young for a college product, similar to Cayden Wallace who was drafted in 2022. Roccaforte is a sleeper prospect who could quickly rise up prospect rankings if he shows up as I expect.
Finally, at Powder Blue Nostalgia, Patrick Glancy writes about The Strike and announces he is taking a well earned break during this coldest stove of seasons.
...I’ve been running full-bore on this project for a year-and-a-half now, if you count the time it took to get it off the ground before I officially launched it in December 2022. I’ve published over fifty articles, one every Wednesday morning, without missing a single week, and if you’ve made it this far with me, you know that my work is not known for its brevity. True, I made an effort to cut down on my word count considerably starting in late August, but I’m still not sure I’ve ever qualified as a quick read. Throw in the time spent researching every subject before I even sit down to write, and you start to see how time-consuming Powder Blue Nostalgia can be.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing it to working in a coal mine. It’s not hard labor, and I really do enjoy the work. But this feels like the right time to take a break. We’ve passed the one-year mark on this journey, and we’re in the middle of the offseason, still at least a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. I don’t think we’ll get a better opening to recharge our batteries.
...So let’s think of this like a rain delay. Feel free to watch an old episode of The Andy Griffith Show or This Week in Baseball if that helps put you in the right mindset. I’m looking at some time in Spring Training or Opening Day, at the latest, as the ideal time to begin year two of Powder Blue Nostalgia. And I’ve even got some ideas on how to tweak the formula to keep things fresh and hopefully help the newsletter grow.
I think we can even squeeze in a little MLB section today.
Going back to today’s picture, the White Sox are looking for a new stadium:
The White Sox are negotiating with developer Related Midwest about the possibility of building a new ballpark on the South Loop parcel known as “The 78.” Sources familiar with the talks, all speaking on the condition they not be named, told the Chicago Sun-Times the negotiations for a baseball-only stadium are “serious.”
...The potential site at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street is owned by Related Midwest. Company President Curt Bailey wouldn’t comment. Nor would Sox spokesperson Scott Reifert or Jason Lee, a senior adviser to Mayor Brandon Johnson. Johnson and Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a joint, written statement in response to questions: “We met to discuss the historic partnership between the team and Chicago and the team’s ideas for remaining competitive in Chicago in perpetuity.”
...Reinsdorf, 87, said last summer he was exploring the possibility of leaving Guaranteed Rate Field when the team’s lease expires after the 2029 season.
The Mets are going to retire the number of their dynamic 80s duo, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.
For most of their baseball lives, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry have been linked together, and this year is no different. After 2024, no player in the Mets organization will wear uniform Nos. 16 and 18, as they will be retired at Citi Field in honor of Gooden and Strawberry, respectively.
Gooden’s ceremony will take place on April 14, when the Mets play the Royals, while Strawberry’s day in the sun will come on June 1, before New York faces Arizona. They will be the ninth and 10th players — Willie Mays, Keith Hernandez, Jerry Koosman, Mike Piazza, Jackie Robinson, Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges and Casey Stengel are the others — to have their numbers retired at Citi Field.
Liz Roscher at Yahoo Sports looks at Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker and speculates there will likely be 4 players in this year’s HOF class with a 5th possible:
Now nearly half the ballots have been publicly revealed (45.6%), and voting has continued trending in largely the same direction. Joe Mauer and Todd Helton continue to see strong support, as does Billy Wagner. Gary Sheffield remains in the danger zone, floating just underneath 75%. Adrian Beltre’s box has been checked off on every ballot that has come in since our previous update. Those two Red Sox reporters, Bill Ballou and Tony Massarotti, are still the only ones not to vote for Beltre.
I’ve professed my love for NFL PrimeTime a couple of times already in this space. And, while I don’t have a team I root for in the NFL, I figure the highlights from the last Chiefs/Bills playoffs game would be appropriate here. FYI: it’s part of a longer video called “ 2021 Buffalo Bills NFL PrimeTime Highlights” but I’ve queued it up to the moment of the divisional game. Also, I’ve watched this a few times and Berman admits he hasn’t seen the highlights before doing them as the game had just ended so it’s a little rough. To a lot of people, his schtick is tired and maybe he has lost a little bit off his fastball, but I was impressed that he basically ad-libbed the whole bit. And, hey, it’s the game that gets “International Statement”, so you know it’s good:
EDIT: Apparently Vox and Youtube didn’t like using the embed feature, so here’s a link to the video instead: https://youtu.be/cP5aCnIWdB4?si=EhfrnIrTGFIFpy56&t=4735