We made it! It’s game day. Maybe this game is just a spring training game, and I spend most of my time telling you that the games don’t ultimately matter, at least not the statistics, but today there is actually a Royals game that we can listen to on the radio. So I don’t care what I’ve said before. This is awesome! I think those of us who got hit by the snowstorm will really appreciate hearing baseball and giving us warm thoughts. I don’t know about you, but shoveling my driveway wore me out yesterday and I’ll be happy to get out of here to get down to Surprise where there isn’t a foot of snow on the ground.
- This goes against everything I’ve ever said, but I think it’s interesting that the Royals are putting out a lineup today of Gordon, Escobar, Hosmer, Butler, Perez, Moustakas, Francoeur, Giavotella and Dyson. The Rangers are starting lefty Derek Holland, which Bob Dutton listed as a reason why Gio was starting, but that seems a little weird considering he’s probably going to pitch only two or three innings and likely face the bottom part of the order just one time. I don’t think it means anything, but it’s interesting at the very least. The other thing that drew my attention from this lineup is that Hosmer is batting third. Prior to the 2011 season, Ned Yost sort of eased Alex Gordon into that lineup spot, even in spring training. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but this is just a different approach that piqued my interest.
- As every day passes without Kyle Lohse signing with anybody, my mind starts to spin about whether or not the Royals should make a run at him. I always come to no, but there’s a part of me that just wonders if there’s a price where he makes sense. I know he’s probably going to suffer a fair amount from switching leagues, but if the price is right, he might make sense financially. The big stopping point for me is that the Royals would lose the first pick in the compensatory round. It’s not the player I’d be terribly upset about losing but rather the slot money. With the way the draft is now set up, every extra dollar you have at your disposal in the draft is very important. The Royals have the first pick of the comp round, and if they see a player worthy of it, they could draft someone with their first round pick and take from the money allotted for that comp pick. If they lose the pick, they lose the money. The Royals would almost certainly improve their rotation, but I’m not sure how much and because of that, I just don’t think it’s worth it unless signing him gets them a good deal later with a Boras client. I don’t know! So many variables!
- I think I’ve said this before, but I’m really excited to see what Mike Moustakas can do in a full, healthy season. Everything I’ve heard indicates his slump at the end of the year that brought his numbers to somewhat embarrassing levels was due to his knee injury. I loved what I was seeing from him before that injury, and I hope he can find a way to recapture that in the 2013 season. For the Royals to take that next step, Mike Moustakas is going to have to become a 30 homer bat in the middle of the lineup. If that lineup I talked about in the first bullet point is somewhat similar to what we’ll see throughout the season and Mike Moustakas hits sixth with 30 homers and a .500 slugging percentage, that probably means very good things for the Royals offense.
- I’m very excited about the progress Danny Duffy seems to be making in his rehab, but I hope he’s careful because getting back two or three weeks ahead of schedule but not being completely healthy really hurts the team in the long run. Jeff Montgomery was talking the other night about how he came back too early and it pretty much destroyed his career. Now, he was 35 at the time, but moving too fast can hurt anybody’s career, even a young pitcher like Duffy. If everything goes perfectly (it won’t), I think the Royals would like to stash Duffy at AAA for a little while after he comes back and finishes his rehab. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think Duffy is going to struggle upon his return because control is the last thing that comes back when a pitcher is coming back from Tommy John. For a guy who already struggled with that, maybe coming back in early July and spending July and August in the minors would be the best thing for him and the team. If they’re in the race, you could bring Duffy up in September and have a really great arm out of the bullpen.
- This was discussed a little on Twitter on Wednesday, I believe, but the Rockies are in the market for a starting pitcher. It just so happens that the Royals have a glut of fifth starter candidates and one of them is actually from Denver. I know, what a coincidence! More than just hopes and dreams, I think the Royals and Rockies really could match up on a deal for Hochevar if the Rockies were interested. They have a guy like Tim Wheeler in the minors who was a power hitting outfield prospect before breaking a bone in his hand (I think) last season that saw his power just get absolutely sapped. He may not be the best fit for the Royals, though he could be a right field option for 2014, but the Rockies have a fair amount of pieces in the minors. I’m not predicting it’ll happen, but I think there¬†is¬†a non-zero chance of it.
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