The Royals wasted no time making moves, as while I was writing this (about 22:00 last night), it was announced Mike Matheny and Cal Eldred will not return in 2023.
Anne Rogers writes that the Royals are set for a busy offseason:
With the steps back, though, the Royals also believe 2022 signaled a step forward. Eight of the 14 position players on the active roster are rookies, including seven first-year players. The 76 home runs by Kansas City rookies are the most in the Majors this year and in franchise history.
The core of the Royals’ future arrived and established themselves in the Majors in 2022.
“They took advantage of opportunities that were created,” Picollo said. “We found out that we have a pretty resilient group. That will benefit them in the long run. We have some really good pieces in place, and we have some that need to develop and get better in a timeframe that matches our timeframe.”
She also writes about Daniel Lynch’s frustrating end to the season:
Lynch posted a 3.30 ERA in his first six starts this season, including three scoreless outings. In his last nine starts of the season, he’s 0-6 with a 6.34 ERA.
He enters the offseason with several things to work on in hopes of earning a 2023 rotation spot out of Spring Training.
“I think my delivery can get a little bit better,” Lynch said. “Clean some things up there. I think I really need to improve my slider. I think as the year went on, whatever was fooling them or tricking them started to go away. I was throwing good sliders and they weren’t swinging or they were hitting them. So that needs to improve. I like to keep it simple. I think those are two things that I can attack.”
Royals prospect River Town was voted Minor League Name of the Year ($):
He was born in Zachary, Louisiana, an exurb of Baton Rouge set just back from the Mississippi. He began this year in Columbia, South Carolina, where the Broad and Saluda rivers combine to form the Congaree. He finished the season in Davenport, Iowa, back on the Mississip’. Any one of those locales could fairly be called a River Town.
Town, an outfielder drafted by the Royals in the 15th round last year, is our winner. Something about the name is so perfect. It appeals for completely different reasons than, say, a Zebulon Vermillion. That sounds exotic. River Town sounds exceedingly common, composed of two words that so obviously belong together. It’s just that those two words wouldn’t seem to describe a person.
This is a trend in the Town family, it seems. His older brother is named Forrest. His younger brother is Stone. Yes, their full names may sound like places you visit playing Pokémon, but that’s why we love them.
Town’s High-A teammate Kale Emshoff was an honorable mention.
The top offseason question for each team, including for the Royals ($):
With Dayton Moore no longer selling the direction for our franchise, what exactly is going to change?
Five years into a rebuild that has yet to get the Royals close to a return to the playoffs, how is new baseball chief J.J. Picollo going to differentiate himself? The Royals have an impressive base of young talent, much of which already has gotten a good bit of big league experience. The key from here is to turn that collective promise into big league wins. Can Picollo identify options to deepen the roster in a way that augments the young players? Can he fashion a workable bullpen depth chart? And perhaps most important of all, what kind of changes is Picollo likely to make in the club’s processes now that he’s in charge? That last question might be answered if and when Picollo picks a new general manager (or assistant) to work with him, and whether that person comes from within the organization.
Alex Duvall at Royals Farm Report lists the top priorities for Kansas City this offseason:
I’d say just one but Vinnie Pasquantino is such an easy slam dunk at this point that there is no reason to not aim for two. Vinnie is easily the best hitter of your young core. He’s a first baseman at best long-term and more likely a designated hitter. It shouldn’t be hard to get him locked up for the next eight years. If the Royals are serious about wanting to extend their window this time, lock up the best hitter of the group for the entirety of his prime and start counting your money.
Once you get him locked up, identify one more guy that you really like and get him locked up too. If Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez are too rich for their blood, maybe you lock up Michael Massey on a cheaper deal and have your second base situation figured out for the better part of the next decade. Massey and Pasquantino are really good friends, so it makes some sense to have them both locked up long-term. Maybe they’ve seen enough from Drew Waters to think they can get him cheap through his age-31 season. Whoever it is, identify him, lock him up, and get yourself a couple of pillars to build around for the next window.
An analysis of Statcast’s outfield jump metrics. Kyle Isbel is mentioned as an elite defensive outfielder without elite sprint speed.
Also from Fangraphs, Shohei Ohtani has dominated on the mound while constantly changing his arsenal.
Sandy Alcantara has thrown more innings this season than any pitcher since 2016, and his arsenal was a big reason why.
David Schoenfield believes this could be the best MLB postseason ever.
Breaking down this postseason’s lineups.
The Panama City qualifiers took place over the last week. Lots of rain interrupted the schedule, but Panama and Nicaragua will play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, their third and first WBC appearances, respectively.
Colorado takes the top (bottom?) spot on this week’s College Football Bottom 10.
This week’s rental opportunity is a studio in an attic with oddly sloped ceilings, a nearly useless kitchenette, and an ominous hole.
Open question for the commentariat: Matheny and Eldred are gone, so what else do you hope to see the Royals do this offseason?
Your song of the day is End Game by Zomboy: