The Royals and left-handed starter Danny Duffy on Monday agreed to a new five-year, $65 million contract that runs through the 2021 season.
Duffy could have become a free agent after the 2017 season, his final year of arbitration, but will instead make $5 million this season, $14 million in 2018, $15.25 million in 2019 and 2020 and $15.5 million in 2021.
The Royals have traded two of their would-be free agents, shipping closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler during the Winter Meetings last month then dealing outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the Seattle Mariners for right-hander Nate Karns last Friday.
Soler and Karns are not sure things, but both have a certain amount of upside.
Kansas City got the starting rotation help is so desperately needed.
The Mariners got the speed they sought on the base paths.
“As so often times is the case, once teams know there is a mutual interest in a player — in their case Jarrod, in our case Nate — we just stayed in touch and the timing was right,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “The deal was obviously attractive for us.”...
Dyson, a former 50th-round draft pick, became a fan favorite in Kansas City thanks primarily to his speed on the bases. He hit .278 while stealing 30 bases a year ago.
“We’ve had many conversations about Dyson specifically,” Dipoto said, “and what a good fit he was for our team. He’s an elite-level defender. He’s dynamic on the bases, a fearless base stealer. And the combination of Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin and Jean Segura hitting somewhere between the bottom and top of your lineup really creates a three-player dynamic on the bases for us that is probably different than the Mariners have had in a long time and perhaps most different than most teams in our league.”
“We’ve always liked his ability to hit with power,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said of O’Brien. “He’s got a couple of options remaining as well. So it fits in line with what we’re trying to do going forward.”
The options mean O’Brien can be stashed in the minor leagues for the next two seasons. A former catcher who has transitioned to the outfield, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound slugger lacks a natural defensive position. But the Royals also view him as a potential flier in a possible DH rotation in 2017.
“He gives up depth,” Moore said. “And we’re trying to balance the importance of winning in 2017 and, obviously, adding as much depth as we can — not only for now, but in the future.
“He’s a young position player; there’s not a lot of supply right now. So we’re trying to acquire as much quality offensive talent as we can. And he’s a player that we’ve had our eye on for a while.”
The club’s analytics department liked Soler’s ability to get on base — his walk rate (11.7 percent) would have led the Royals in 2016. The club’s talent evaluators loved his raw power and an assortment of tools that once landed him among the top 20 prospects in baseball before the 2015 season.
Rany Jazayerli explained why this isn’t true on Twitter. I’ll consolidate his tweets here because Twitter is just horrible for stuff like this.
Yes, they can. I’m getting really tired of seeing this meme everywhere. The Royals planting this story doesn’t make it true. Let me explain: No, the Royals probably can’t afford to pay $90M to 5 players next year. But that’s not what will happen. What will happen is 5 different players will each separately make a decision on whether to accept a 1 year, $18M offer. And precisely because of who those players are they likely won’t accept, because they can get more $ elsewhere - ESPECIALLY because the penalty for signing FA has dropped considerably. But let’s say they do accept, and the Royals don’t want to pay the money. Guess what? The Royals can trade the guy. Are you telling me the Royals couldn’t find a team willing to trade for Mike Moustakas or Eric Hosmer on a 1 year, $18M contract? Please. If the player isn’t worth a 1 year, $18M contract - say Lorenzo Cain has a terrible year - then you simply don’t offer him a QO. But this idea that we can’t take the risk of being stuck with a star-caliber player on a one-year deal is ridiculous. It reminds me of after the strike in 1995, when the Royals suddenly decided they couldn’t afford expensive players, and took the first offer on Brian McRae and David Cone. For McRae - a 27-year-old elite defensive CF - they got two relievers who combined to throw 8.1 more innings in the majors. And for Cone who had JUST WON THE CY YOUNG AWARD - they got utlilityman Chris Stynes and two guys who never made the majors. When you’re afraid of uncertainty, you end up making certain mistakes. If KC wants to trade veterans now to avoid a complete rebuild next year, I get it. But level with us. Don’t claim you can’t afford to offer a QO when every piece of evidence says you can, and you should.
I can’t see how they wouldn’t be able to afford the draft picks. Each player they’d be losing makes more than the draft slot will be. I would think they’d also be tempted to make one last run.
In theory, the Royals could carry all of their potential free agents through ‘17, make each a qualifying offer and collect draft picks following the first round for every one who signs a contract above $50 million — a new stipulation under the collective-bargaining agreement.
Realistically, a low-revenue team such as the Royals never would make qualifying offers to six players, not when the QO likely will be in the $18 million range next offseason. The Royals also might not want to direct their limited resources to six high picks, not when the alternative is acquiring prospects with professional track records in trades.
Previously, baseball has relied on the highly subjective statistic of Defensive Runs Saved used by the sabermetrics community to evaluate defenders. Statcast™, through its tracking devices, can replace that with an objective measure of route efficiency based on the flight of the ball and the defender’s route to it.
“To be able to determine whether or not [Jarrod] Dyson or anyone else took the proper route,” Wakamatsu said, “is something we as coaches can use as a coaching tool.”
“To me, BABIP simply raises a red flag, one way or another, and tells you to dive into it more deeply,” Wakamatsu said. “Along the same lines, if we look at an opponent who is 0-for-5 on sliders low and away, and he has a BABIP of .000 on those, you might think that’s the way to pitch him. But if his average exit velocity is 105 mph on those balls and they were all rockets, you’re not going to pitch him that way.
MLB Pipeline ranks him 10th. The biggest issue is clearly his control.
MLB Pipeline’s Scouting grades: Fastball: 80 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
Here’s what they had to say about him.
Staumont can maintain a mid-90s fastball into the late innings as starter, work in the upper 90s as a reliever and hit 102 mph with riding life. He also can run a two-seamer into the high 90s with heavy sink. He has ace-caliber stuff when he can locate his pitches, backing up his heat with a hard downer curveball and a changeup with splitter action.
The problem for Staumont is that he rarely locates his pitches because he has trouble keeping his mechanics in sync. He has below-average control and even worse command, which means he’ll probably wind up as a reliever rather than a starter. If he can find the strike zone on a consistent basis, he could become a closer.
Based on 20-80 scouting scale—where 50 represents major league average—and future projection rather than present tools.
Scouting Report: Staumont creates extremely easy top-of-the-scale velocity. He’s touched triple digits with a delivery that looks almost effortless. Staumont’s right arm has allowed him to pitch successfully at a level beyond his current understanding of the craft. This year his understanding of pitching started to catch up to his stuff, although it still has a ways to go before he’s consistently setting up hitters. His plus-plus four-seamer sits anywhere from 92-98 as a starter and has touched 102 when working out of the bullpen. It is a rather true pitch without much life. The only thing keeping it from an 80 grade is its lack of life. He also throws a two-seamer with sink, but the Royals have had him focus on commanding the four-seamer first before letting him rely on the harder-to-control two-seamer. His 11-to-5 curveball isn’t consistent but is a plus pitch at some point in most every outing and will flash plus-plus at its best. His changeup is below-average and he uses it more at this point because he knows he needs to rather than because it’s a reliable weapon. Staumont’s control improved as the season progressed in part because of a mechanical tweak. He now brings his hands above his head in his windup instead of the simple hand break he used earlier. It improved his timing. He is focused on using his legs in his delivery more instead of the “tall and fall” delivery he used in college. He is somewhat stiff, which limits his below-average control and command and his ability to diagnose and correct delivery issues quickly as they crop up. Staumont has work to do on holding runners. He was easy to steal on and four of his five errors in 2016 came on errant pickoff throws.
The Blue Jays have struck a deal to sign free agent DH Kendrys Morales, as first reported on Twitter by Chris Meola and as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. The contract will reportedly cover three years and guarantee Morales $33MM.
It’s a tradition like no other. OK, maybe not at the level of The Masters, but this is certainly very cool.
After the Royals won last year’s World Series, the San Francisco Giants sent 25 pizzas to the Royals. The Giants were the defending World Series champions and they had received pizzas the year before from the Boston Red Sox, who won the title in 2013.
So the Royals are paying it forward.
Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president of publicity said the team is sending Giordano’s deep dish pizza to the Cubs front office. It’ll be deep dish, naturally. Cook said the pizza feast will be enough to feed 150 people, but wasn’t sure how many pizzas that will be.
Davis, though, should have excellent value even in a market stacked with excellent closers. It’s the best closing market perhaps ever, with Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon all free agents.
Of course all three of those closers will cost a pretty penny (one GM predicted all three would top Jonathan Papelbon’s record $50-million deal for closers, and Chapman and Jansen certainly will), while Davis is a bargain.
“Bo would like to visit Kansas City,” the agent said. “He’d like to see the players, see the stadium. But he doesn’t want to work out.”
Schuerholz wasn’t buying it. He suspected Jackson and his agents were merely using the Royals as a negotiating tool against the NFL, and asked Stewart for his opinion. He contacted Gonzales, who assured the director of scouting that Bo Jackson had genuine interest in the major leagues. “John,” Stewart told Schuerholz, “all I can tell you is Kenny Gonzales has spent seven years on Bo Jackson, and he knows him and his family better than anyone. We have to believe in Kenny.”
That Saturday afternoon, Jackson and Woods arrived at Royals Stadium and sat down with Schuerholz, Stewart and Gonzales. The general manager wasted no time. “Bo,” he said, “do you really want to play baseball?”
Jackson was young and green and raw but haltingly sincere and steadfast. “Mr. Schuerholz,” he replied, “that’s why I’m here.”
“It just isn’t happening, man,” said first baseman Eric Hosmer. “I don’t really know, man. There’s no excuses. Didn’t really feel like their pitching was overpowering, or good enough to hold us, but stuff just didn’t happen.”
These are proud professional athletes, and most of them are accomplished at their sport’s highest level, so most will bristle at what is nonetheless a fairly obvious and noncontroversial observation — they tapped out.
They have virtually no chance at making the playoffs. Still.
This is true, even now, with eight straight wins and 11 of the last 12. This is true, even now, with a wild-card deficit cut from 9 1/2 games to 3 1/2 . This is true, even now, with the starting rotation soaring and Alex Gordon hitting and Paulo Orlando making a sneaky case for team player of the year.
Interesting candid thoughts from the Dodgers (and former Royals, Mets, and Yankees) beat writer.
This past spring, I stopped by the Royals clubhouse. “We got you promoted!” Eric Hosmer said. In that moment, your insecurity creeps in, and you want to say “Fuck you, I did this on my own!” But that’s not totally true. So I wear it. I’m sure I’ll be connected with Kansas City for a while, and I’ll stomach the occasional dweeb on the Internet telling me I owe my career to the Royals. Only Billy Zane makes his own luck…..
As for good teams and bad teams: Either one can be interesting. The 2010 Mets were a delightful trainwreck: Jose Reyes pulled an oblique muscle, and instead of putting him on the disabled list, the team told him to stop switch-hitting. Francisco Rodriguez fought his spouse’s father at the ballpark and spent the night in a cell at Citi Field; the team put K-Rod on the restricted list, and when a reporter asked Jerry Manuel how the team would welcome K-Rod back next year, Manuel replied, “I’m here next year?” There was the embarrassing Walter Reed incident. Manuel suggested John Maine could make his comeback with the team by pitching on off-days. The team played with, essentially, a 24-man roster for months, because Oliver Perez refused a minor-league assignment, and Manuel refused to use him.
I’m sure I’m forgetting like 15 other ridiculous things. I just assumed all teams were that dysfunctional. As for good teams: You have a clarity of purpose that allows you to put events into context, and it is nice being around players who give a ####. You get a lot more eyeballs on your work when the team is good. My career arc is a testament to that. So, thank you, Dave Eiland, for convincing Ned to run his bullpen better, which got people to read my stories from the playoffs.
But Thornton was more than a fan. At Malvern (about 20 miles from Hot Springs) High School, he had some success as a pitcher. He was good enough to get invited to a Kansas City Royals tryout camp in 1973. And it was there that fate intervened.
On his first day at camp, he was hit by an errant throw during an infield drill. An anonymous but strong-armed third baseman broke his collarbone. Thornton was not participating in the drill but was just a bystander. And so his professional career ended before it even started.
Of course, the odds against any participant in a tryout camp getting a contract, much less making it to the major leagues, are overwhelming. In Thornton’s case, that was particularly true. But baseball’s loss was Hollywood’s gain.
Kenney says the players remain divided on the new technology, with some fearing that any information—the technology does read the quality of a muscle—will get used against them in future contract talks, but others stay “very, very interested to see where their body is taking them.”
“We are trying to get guys to optimal levels and increase performance levels,” Kenney says. “That is our intended use.”