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Royals Rumblings - News for January 3, 2024

New year, same Wednesday Rumblings

Anne Rogers made three predictions for the 2024 Royals, including Michael Wacha being a difference-maker:

Health was an important factor in the turnaround from injury-riddled seasons from 2019-21, but Wacha also pointed to his arsenal when asked what the biggest difference has been the last two seasons.

“If you really dive into it, I kind of mixed up my repertoire a little bit,” Wacha said at his introductory press conference. “Throwing certain pitches a little bit more. Pitching inside was always key to me early on in my career, and then for some reason, I kind of just got away from it. But just mixing up the repertoire, learning myself and who I am at this time and where I need to pitch and how I need to pitch was really key for me. Always limiting walks, that’s been helpful for me getting back to that, but mixing up that repertoire a little bit and that pitch sequencing has helped me out quite a bit.”

If we’ve learned anything about the Royals’ new pitching department, it’s that it can help improve pitchers by first looking at repertoires and sequencing. That philosophy will fit well with Wacha.

The Royals have hired Johnny DiPuglia, the Nationals’ former international scouting director.

DiPuglia has been with the Washington Nationals since 2009 and ran the international operations for the team. He was promoted to vice president and assistant general manager after the Washington Nationals won the World Series 2019.

DiPuglia resigned from the Washington Nationals in September but gave no reason why he left the Washington Nationals. While with the Nationals, he is credited with singing Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and two-thirds of the title-winning outfield. Infielder Wilmer Difo, reliever Wander Suero, and catcher Pedro Severino were other international signees who made the majors.

The Red Sox claimed Royals righty Max Castillo off waivers. Castillo had come to Kansas City as part of the return from the Blue Jays for Whit Merrifield.

In yesterday’s post from Preston Farr looking at potential non-roster invites for Spring Training, reader ThunderStreetWorkshop commented with a link to this free agent tracker. Does anyone there catch your eye as some depth for the Royals?

Speaking of ThunderStreetWorkshop, did you see the crossword from a couple days ago?

And speaking of free agents, MLB Trade Rumors profiled old friend Sean Manaea.

Part of the Dodgers’ huge contract with Yoshinobu Yamamoto includes opt-outs that are conditional on the pitcher’s elbow health.

A suggestion to put cornstarch in your hot chocolate to make it really decadent. Anyone want to try it and report back?

There was a huge solar flare on New Year’s Eve!

This was inevitable: an Ask a Manager letter writer suspects their boss is managing by way of ChatGPT. It’s not going well.

[CN: description of sexual assault at link] Paula Abdul is suing producer Nigel Lythgoe for allegedly assaulting her during her tenures at American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

A huge passenger jet was engulfed in flames on a runway in Japan after a collision with a smaller plane. The smaller plane had been trying to go assist in earthquake relief efforts, and five of its six people aboard died. Everyone aboard the jetliner evacuated and survived.

A case for leaving the passengers on the 9-month world cruise alone. I will probably still keep tabs on that on TikTok, to be honest.

With that, today’s OT question: have you ever been on a cruise? Where did you go, and what was it like? Or are you a cruise hater? Or somewhere in between?

SOTD: Taylor Swift - New Year’s Day