Now that the full squad has reported, they’ve all officially worked out and we’ve seen all sorts of pictures of all that happening, I’m ready for something to actually happen. The next date to circle on your calendar is Thursday when the Royals and Rangers play the first game of the spring for the two teams. Then we can finally hear more than who looks good in the cages and who has the best changeup during his side session and how glorious the tattoos of Mike Moustakas are. Or how they were way overstated. You know, whatever. Either way, there’s real baseball to talk about soon, so we can all rest easy.
- Unfortunately, real baseball hasn’t started yet, so we’re still talking about free agents and the like. This week, the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a four year, $50 million deal. Jimenez and Ervin Santana were the top two remaining pitchers on the market, which means Santana is now the top remaining pitcher on the market. There’s been some discussion recently about if Dayton Moore made a huge mistake in not letting the market play out and bringing back Santana. I don’t think he did for a couple reasons. One, while I guess in hindsight he did misread the market (again), I don’t think anybody saw Santana’s situation unfolding quite like this, so it would be difficult to jump on Moore for that. Two, I’m not entirely sure that Santana couldn’t have been had by the Royals a few weeks ago if not for his agent. From what I understand, it’s the agency causing the holdup here with some unrealistic demands. Would I prefer it if the Royals had Santana in 2014 instead of Jason Vargas? Absolutely, but I’m just saying Dayton Moore didn’t make a massive mistake here. The market is just making everyone look a little silly.
- We talked about this on the podcast this week, but very interesting to see the public news that Dan Glass said the Royals might be willing to sell if the situation was right. Of course, in the interview, he made it sound like it would have to be the rarest of rare situations, but you still never know. Now, I’m not someone who pins the failures of this organization on the Glass family entirely, at least not in the last few years, but I will admit they aren’t the absolute best ownership group out there. As I’ve said before, the Royals have a payroll that is high enough to win, so it’s hard to fault Glass for that. Still, to have a local ownership group would be kind of cool and the Cerner guys said again that they’d be willing to talk if the Royals were willing to listen. Maybe that’s not really news right now, but it’s something worth paying attention to in the future.
- For some reason, Mike Moustakas has been of interest to me most of this off-season, and it isn’t because the Royals could really stand for him to become a competent big league hitter. The reason I’ve been thinking about him is that he actually is sort of valuable because he can play a little defense and can pop a few homers. Now, his value decreased massively if he’s forced to be a key cog in a lineup, but if he can hit seventh or lower in a lineup, I think he could be a benefit to this team and I might even consider offering him a bit of an extension to lock him up into free agency. Before you jump through your computer screen to strangle me, the deal would have to be very friendly, which means ultimately very easy to trade. I could see a deal like 5 years and $32 million that starts with the 2015 season making some sense for him. The value would go $2.5 million, $5 million, $7.5 million, $8 million, $9 million with like a $13 million option or something. Considering his defense has been well above average, he should be worth that money over the course of his deal and if he does break out offensively, then they have a huge bargain. It’s probably crazy, but just one of those random things that rolls around in my head to get the organization some cost certainty.
- There’s a lot of people who seem to think that Carlos Peguero has a real shot to make this Royals roster, but I just don’t see how he fits. A recent article by Jeffrey Flanagan indicates that a scout in the American League (probably a Royals scout is my guess) believes that Peguero can be a 40 home run hitter in the big leagues. Whether he can or can’t, he’s not much of a hitter right now and there’s just no place for him on the roster. Peguero hasn’t been a total zero against lefties in the minors, but the Royals have two left-handed bats in their corner outfield and I don’t see how Peguero can play center field. The only fit for him goes back to something we’ve talked about a lot and that’s if the Royals feel Aoki can handle center on an extended basis because they can’t go into a season counting on 150 games from Lorenzo Cain. It’s an interesting story and I think the Royals want Peguero to succeed, but ultimately, there just isn’t the space for him on this particular team.
- A lot has been made about how the Royals rotation has gotten worse from 2013, and I’ve been someone who has been saying that for awhile. I’m not sure it’s a guarantee, though, because while the Royals are going to lose a very, very valuable starter, I think there’s a good chance the rotation as a whole might be about the same. In 986.2 innings last year, Royals starters posted a 3.87 ERA. The two main holdovers from that rotation, Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields posted a 3.58 ERA between them in 440.1 innings. I know the projections don’t like Guthrie and I know I didn’t and don’t love the signing, but I think it’s fairly safe to say he’ll be about average again and Shields should be pretty darn good again. What’s left is 546.1 innings of 4.10 ERA baseball. I think there’s a case to be made that some combination of Jason Vargas, Bruce Chen, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kyle Zimmer can post those numbers. If they do, the rotation won’t take a step back like many of us believe is possible. And that would be very nice. I still worry about regression form a bullpen that was so good that even a regression would leave them as one of the best in baseball, but that’s a discussion for another day.
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