Category Archives: Kansas City Royals Pro Shop

Peter Moylan Jersey

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Jorge Soler’s record-settin’ dinger mashin’ earned him a third consecutive Royals Player of the Month award, while Danny Duffy was named Pitcher of the Month.

Soler, 27, led the Royals in September with 10 home runs and 20 RBI, his second straight 10-homer, 20-RBI month. Prior to August, the last Royal to hit 10 homers in a month was Mike Sweeney in June 2001. Soler’s first home run of the month, on September 3 vs. Detroit, was his 39th of the season, which broke a tie with Mike Moustakas (38 in 2017) for the Royals’ single-season record. Soler homered in consecutive games three times in September and had a pair of multi-homer games, on September 11 in Chicago and on September 28 vs. Minnesota. He reached safely in each of his last 14 games and recorded a hit in each of his last eight, including a home run in Game 162 to finish the season with 48, becoming the first Royal ever to lead the American League in home runs.

Former Royals reliever and coffee maker Peter Moylan has nominated himself to manage the Royals following the retirement of Ned Yost:

pic.twitter.com/IRiVw2LrqO

— Peter Moylan (@PeterMoylan) October 1, 2019
The Washington Nationals advanced in a playoff situation, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 8th to defeat the Brewers 4-3.

Sheryl Ring at Beyond the Boxscore talked to “baseball cop” Eddie Dominguez, who wrote a book about his time as an investigator for MLB’s department of investigations. It was, apparently, an ugly job.

“After fifteen years I saw that… It’s an ugly business. There’s a lot of corruption,” Dominguez said. “It wasn’t all bad. But if I could take it back I would love to. I’ve lost my love for sports. It’s not the same. That was my primary reason for writing the book – to express what I saw that a lot of people don’t see. There’s a lot more to it, but that was my primary reason.”

Also at BtBS, a look at Tyler Duffey’s adjustments making him a weapon for the Twins, written by Patrick Brennan. WAIT, we know Patrick Brennan!

Former Royals pitcher Brian Bannister, now the Red Sox VP of pitching development, was among those who talked to David Laurila of FanGraphs about developing his own changeup:

I originally had a four-seam grip, but I realized that created backspin, which was bad. So I went to a two-seam grip and tried to see how much I could turn it over, how much I could pronate my arm — similar to how Max Scherzer describes his. I tried to think about how much depth I could put on it, instead of how slow I could throw it. That was the difference for me.

The Angels followed their firing of manager Brad Ausmus by firing their pitching coach and bench coach.

Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball now works for the Reds, too.

Tremendously excited to join the Cincinnati @Reds.

A few things:

1) I will remain at @DrivelineBB.
2) I am Director of Pitching Initiatives // Pitching Coordinator.
3) I work almost entirely in the minor leagues, so fortunately, I won’t see @BauerOutage any more than I have to. pic.twitter.com/QMD7voD6Mm

— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) October 1, 2019
If Nashville landed an MLB team, their home might look like these renderings.

‘Sesame Street’ is 50 years old, which means many Royals Review readers grew up with it. Here’s a fascinating look at what went into developing a curriculum for it.

Dolphins are returning to the Potomac River following a prolonged watershed restoration and cleanup effort.

The Highwomen are BACK as the Wednesday song of the day. The little bounciness in the chorus in the “lucky penny” line delights me every time. I want to see someone do a jaunty quickstep to this song.

Jorge Soler Jersey

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Jorge Soler has fired ACES and moved to Casey Close of Excel. What effect does this change in representation have on the Kansas City Royals’ ability to negotiate a contract extension with the breakout AL home run champion?
What an incredible breakout season Designated Hitter/Outfielder Jorge Soler had for the Kansas City Royals in 2019.

Soler shattered the Royals franchise record for home runs in a season and he established himself as one of the most feared hitters in the American League, putting up a second half stat line of .299/.411/.665, with 15 doubles, one triple, 25 home runs, and 45 walks (+3 IBB) vs 70 Ks.

Career: .255/.336/.478, 91 2B, 3 3B, 86 HR, 10/13 SBs – 469 games in 6 years (79 games per year)
2019: .265/.354/.569, 33 2B, 1 3B, 48 HR, 73 BB (3 IBB), 178 Ks, 3/4 SB (589 ABs) – 162 games
Soler’s biggest breakout in 2019 isn’t found in his stunning production, but it was with his health. For the first time in Soler’s career he played in all 162 games.

Soler showed glimpses of a breakout in 2018 before succumbing to injury after 61 games. The work ethic Soler has shown since being traded to the Royals before the 2017 season finally paid off in 2019 when he was able to show his full potential as prodigious power hitter. The Royals have never had a player with this much power potential outside of Bo Jackson, whose career was cut short by injury.

Soler has taken advantage of his massive breakout season and opted out of his team friendly contract he signed out of Cuba with the Chicago Cubs for 9 years/$30 million. Soler will be subjected to arbitration this off-season, which will dramatically increase his paycheck from $4 million to a projected $11.2 million.

Soler will have one more year of arbitration eligibility for 2021 season where his projected paycheck will be above $14 million if he produces similar numbers to his 2019 season in 2020.

Royals star Jorge Soler has fired ACES and moved to Casey Close of Excel

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 12, 2019

Soler has decided to change his agent representation as a result of his breakout. He has hired Casey Close of Excel Sports Management to be his representation for the 2020 season. Close has represented players Alex Gordon, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Derrek Lee, Ben Sheets, and Josh Hamilton.

According to the references on Close’s Wikipedia page,

Some of the larger deals negotiated by Close for his clients include: a five-year, $125 million contract extension for Ryan Howard in 2010; a 10-year, $189 million deal for Jeter in 2000 (at the time the second richest contract in baseball history); a three-year $51 million deal for Jeter in December 2010; a five-year $65 million deal for Derrek Lee in 2006; and a one-year $10 million contract (with $2 million in performance bonuses) for Ben Sheets in 2010.

What kind of offer would Casey Close and Jorge Soler need from the Royals to accept an extension keeping the power hitter in the Royals lineup for the next competitive roster?

Jorge Soler finally had the breakout industry experts expected when he signed with the Cubs in 2014. He has always had the talent to be a prodigious power hitter, but has had issues remaining healthy with his violent swing. Oblique injuries hampered his development early in his career.

Entering into his prime years, Soler looks ready to take off as one of the premier sluggers in the MLB. At times he flashes average defensive ability in right field with a powerful arm. However, most times he is a liability in the field and this hurts his value going forward as he will likely be relegated to designated hitter duties.

Soler hasn’t had a healthy track record and that may limit his and Close’s negotiating leverage. If Soler is able to duplicate his performance from 2019 in 2020, then the Royals will be in a disadvantage in terms of negotiating leverage. The time is ripe to negotiate for all parties involved to negotiate a long-term extension as Soler turns 28 years old in February.

Prediction

If Soler remains healthy, he can carry over his second half of 2019 into 2020, which would be an even more ridiculously stunning season statistically. Soler is capable of hitting .280/.400/.600 with +40 home runs leading the Royals as the middle of the order power bat they’ve long desired.

If the Kansas City Royals believe in his breakout and development, they should make an extension offer to Soler for 4 years/$62 million (2020 – $12 million, 2021 – $14 million, 2022 – $18 million, 2023 – $18 million, team option for 2024 – $23 million).

Accepting the offer would solidify the middle of the Royals lineup for the future and guarantee Soler some security if injuries come back. This deal is similar to the contract extension Alex Gordon and Casey Close negotiated with the Royals in 2016 (4 years/$72 million).

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After a breakout year from the Kansas City Royals current third baseman, it is unlikely anyone else will take his position.
As these positional battle pieces continue for the Kansas City Royals, it’s likely there are some spots that really won’t have much of a battle at all. There will typically though, always be some possible contenders, even if they will simply sit the bench until they are needed.

One such position on for the Royals is third base. The Royals look to have third base locked down, with Hunter Dozier standing strong. With a lot of unknowns coming up for the Royals, though, it never hurts to take a look and see who might be standing in line if the team decides to shake things up.

The Royals have been doing a lot of experiments with moving players between the infield and outfield, and if they continue, they could lose their third baseman to the outfield canyon of Kauffman Stadium. If this is the case, the Royals may be limited on who they could bring in as a replacement.

While there are not a lot of options that stand out, there are some players the Royals could turn to if needed during the 2020 season. A few of these players were seen during the 2019 season but unfortunately did not leave a huge mark. It also never hurts to take a look at what is available in free agency. If there is a deal worth it, Dozier might find his way to the outfield a little quicker.

Raul Ibanez Jersey

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Former KC Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez has officially been placed on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. The results of the voting will be announced on January 22nd.
Raul Ibanez had a career that spanned 19 seasons with four seasons being with the Kansas City Royals. The ballots has 18 players who will appear on the ballot for the first time as well as 14 others who have previously been on the ballot.

Out of those who are appearing on the ballot for the first time, it appears only Derek Jeter will be the only lock to be giving a speech in Cooperstown.

Of those who are appearing on the ballot for at least the second time, it can be debated who deserves to be enshrined with the greatest to every play the game. Controversy still looms over several of those on it due to the steroid era of baseball.

The 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, as announced by @baseballhall moments ago. pic.twitter.com/yyTzUNyoMA

— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 18, 2019

For arguments sake, why not take a deeper look into Raul Ibanez’s career and see how he stacks up against other players who are in the HoF and see if he could possibly be inducted some day into the Hall of Fame?

It’s worth immediately looking at the career statistics and trying to compare them to the other players during his time as well as historically for his position. Ibanez played nearly 92% of his 1767 games in the outfield.

Ibanez posted the following career statistics with his current place among the others who have played the game in parenthesis:

305 Home Runs (143rd)
2034 Hits (268th)
1207 RBI (152nd)
career .272 BA
He also appeared in 44 total playoff games with six of them in the 2009 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ibanez played in exactly one All-Star Game in 2009.

Larry Walker is another outfielder one the same ballot who put up the following numbers:

383 Home Runs
2160 Hits
1311 RBI
Walker played in five All-Star Games and won the NL MVP in 1997. He also won seven Gold Gloves while playing 28 playoff games to include four in the 2004 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

When looking at both of their numbers against both Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, there is a strong argument that Larry Walker should get in, but also Raul Ibanez should have some (although a small amount) consideration on future ballots.

Jim Rice was an eight-time AL All-Star and won the 1978 AL MVP. He was inducted in 2009 in his final chance on the ballot with the following numbers:

382 HRs
2452 Hits
1451 RBI
career .289 BA
Kirby Puckett was inducted in 2001 and went to ten All-Star Games, won six Gold Gloves and was the MVP of the 1991 World Series with the Minnesota Twins. He had the following numbers:

207 HRs
2304 Hits
1085 RBI
career .318 BA
Larry Walker clearly has a legitimate chance this year to be inducted into the Hall of Fame based on comparison to both Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett. Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, will hopefully see some recognition by a few on the BBWAA. Ultimately he will fall short of the 75% of votes needed.

Although he won’t make the Hall of Fame, Raul Ibanez is still one of the fan favorites in Kansas City. He will always be remembered for the closed door speech he gave the 2014 Royals team before they went on an 8-0 run in the postseason. That also helped pave the way for a World Series title one year later.

Gaylord Perry Jersey

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COMMERCE — Frank White, one of only three members of the Kansas City Royals to have his number retired, will be the special guest at the 21th annual Mickey Mantle Classic.

“He should be a good one,” tournament director Brian Waybright. “He’s had a longtime connection to the game since he has been a coach and announcer.

“He should be a good regional draw for us.”

The starting second baseman on the Royals 1985 World Series champion team, he continues a guest speaker arc that has featured players who were part of the infamous Pine Tar Game at Yankee Stadium.

Former New York Yankees Goose Gossage, Graig Nettles and Ron Guidry and ex-Royals Gaylord Perry and Willie Wilson have been previous guests who played in the game, which was played July 23, 1983.

With two out in the top of the ninth inning George Brett hit a two-run homer off Gossage that gave Kansas City a 5-4 lead.

However, manager Billy Martin successfully protested that pine tar on Brett’s bat went up further than allowed.

He was called out, ending the game. During the ensuing argument, Perry grabbed the bat and raced into the Kansas City dugout and hid it.

The Royals protest of the game was upheld and the final four outs were played on Aug. 18.

As a form of protest, Martin shuffled players around and had Guidry — who won 170 games over 14 seasons in New York — in right field.

White’s No. 20 was retired and he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1995.

A bronze statue of White is located just outside Kauffman Stadium — which he helped build on one of his first jobs.

The most valuable player of the 1980 American League Championship Series against the Yankees, he was a five-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner.

In 18 seasons, White he played 2,324 games and hit .255, had 160 home runs and drove in 886 runs.

He was one of only three graduates of the ahead-of-its-time Royals Academy to break into MLB.

Since retiring from the Royals, he’s been a coach with the Royals and Boston Red Sox and was a part-time analyst on Royals’ TV broadcasts.

Since 2014, he’s been a member of the Jackson County (Missouri) Legislature. He was elected Jackson County Executive in 2016.

The 2020 tournament will be played April 9-11 on the field that honors “The Commerce Comet.”

Buffalo Run Casino Resort is the tournament’s main sponsor.

As a result, the awards banquet and auction will now be held at the Peoria Showplace.

Additional details will be announced at a later date.

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After being out with an injury for the entire 2019 season, the Kansas City Royals have designated pitcher Trevor Oaks for assignment.
With the World Series wrapping up and the offseason upon us, the Kansas City Royals can be expected to start making moves. A new manager will hopefully be announced soon, some trades could occur, or contracts could be extended or released.

As of October 29, 2019, the Royals have started their offseason moves, by designating Trevor Oaks for assignment. Oaks spent the entire 2019 season on the injured list, recovering from hip surgery.

We have reinstated RHP Trevor Oaks from the 60-day IL and designated him for assignment. #Royals

— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) October 29, 2019

Oaks came to the Royals during January of 2018 through a three-team trade between Kansas City, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Chicago White Sox. The Royals received Oaks and Erick Mejia from Los Angeles and in return sent Scott Alexander to LA and Joakim Soria to Chicago.

Since coming to Kansas City, Oaks has been underwhelming in the short time he has actually spent in the majors. In 2018, Oaks appeared in 4 games and started 2 of them holding an ERA of 7.24. Over 13.2 innings, he allowed 21 hits, 11 runs, walked 6 batters, and recorded 10 strikeouts.

Oaks faired much better at the minor league level. Working his way through the Dodgers minor league system, Oaks worked his way up from 2014 to 2017. In 2014 his ERA was a high 6.31, but he was able to work it out, posting ERAs under 3.00 in both 2015 and 2016, and a 3.83 in 2017.

RELATED STORY: Looking back on the 2015 World Series, Game 2
At AAA Omaha in 2018, Oaks continued his minor league success posting a 3.23 ERA over 128.1 innings. Unfortunately for Oaks, he just wasn’t able to maintain this level of production at Kauffman.

Though he wasn’t able to play a game during the 2019 regular season, Oaks was able to get some innings in for the Arizona Fall League. In 7 games, Oaks posted an ERA of 4.50, 12 innings, 6 earned runs, and 11 strikeouts. While it’s again not a huge sample size, the numbers aren’t bad for a player coming off of a year-long injury.

In his only major league time in 2018, Oaks ERA was 7.24, but his FIP was a low 3.96. There is some hope that he may be able to turn his numbers around. To see if this will happen, though, Oaks will need a much larger sample size as his current sample is basically non-existent.

It is no surprise that the Royals are starting to make roster moves and Oaks could also find his way back to the organization on a minor league contract. While he could become a nice arm for the rotation in the future, there are other players that are Rule 5 eligible that the Royals apparently see as better options that they will want to protect.

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In 1982, Dwight Clark launched the 49er’s football dynasty with “The Catch”. The baseball season got off to a cold start when an April 6th blizzard dumped up to 24 inches of snow on most of the Northeast, delaying Opening Day for several teams. The music scene didn’t improve much in 1982, but John Cougar had a couple of decent hits. He wisely went back to his birth name, Mellencamp. Journey released a little ditty called “Don’t Stop Believing” which is still sung at karaoke parties, weddings and bar closings across this great nation. The song only peaked at #73, as American listeners were enthralled by classic hits like Physical, Centerfold and Don’t you want me. Looking at the Billboard Top 100 for 1982 makes me question the musical taste of my brothers and sisters. Things were a little brighter at the theater with hits like ET, Diner, Porky’s, 48 Hours and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The Dow Jones Average closed the year at 1,046.54, the first time it ended a year above 1,000.

In baseball, Gaylord Perry won his 300th game, Rickey Henderson stole a record 130 bases and Hank Aaron was elected to the Hall of Fame. To this day I’m still astounded that nine writers did not vote for the then all-time home run king. Who are those guys? Carl “bleeping” Yastrzemski finally retired, and Satchel Paige passed away. Whitey Herzog won a World Series…with St. Louis, which defeated Milwaukee in a fine seven game series. Former Royal Darrel Porter was the MVP of the Series.

After their strange playoff appearance of 1981, the Royals made several off-season moves in an attempt to take advantage of their window. General Manager Joe Burke made seven trades in the off-season, of which only one paid off. That was the first trade he made in October of 1981 when he sent Manny Castillo to the Mariners for a player to be named later, which ended up being pitcher Bud Black. Black had a nice seven-year Royal career, winning 56 games while throwing 977 innings, good for almost 13 WAR and an ERA+ of 111.

The other trades? Not so hot. In three separate trades, Burke gave away talented youngsters Rance Mulliniks, Atlee Hammaker and Ken Phelps in return for aging pitchers Grant Jackson and Vida Blue and some spare parts.

Burke fared better in the June amateur draft. Their first-round pick, outfielder John Morris, was later traded to St. Louis in May of 1985 for Lonnie Smith, who played an integral role on the 1985 Championship team. They blew their second and third round picks before selecting a high school first baseman named Will Clark in the fourth round. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sign Clark and he went to Mississippi State and became a first-round pick with the Giants.

Burke scored big in the 19th round, when the Royals selected a high school shortstop out of Reseda, California named Bret Saberhagen. The 1982 draft wasn’t loaded with future stars, but it did produce many serviceable players. The lowest drafted player to make the majors was a young outfielder chosen by Cincinnati in the 42nd round with the 823rd pick named Jeff Montgomery. Yes, that Jeff Montgomery, who made his debut with the Reds in 1987 as a pitcher and was traded to the Royals in February of 1988. Monty as you well know, went on to save 304 games in his Kansas City career which earned him induction in the Royals Hall of Fame. The Montgomery trade remains one of the greatest heists in Royals history. Monty accumulated almost 21 WAR in his 12 year Royals career while garnering an ERA+ of 138. The player traded for Montgomery, Van Snider played in 19 games over parts of the 1988 and 1989 seasons for Cincinnati, picking up 7 hits in 35 at-bats.

In the secondary phase of the draft, the Royals used their fourth round pick on a young man named Cecil Fielder. Unfortunately, they gave up on Fielder before he matured into a home run mashing star. They traded him to Toronto for outfielder Leon Roberts. Fielder played parts of four seasons in Toronto then spent a season in Japan before turning into a star in Detroit as a 26-year-old, leading the league in home runs twice and in RBI three times. Roberts, meanwhile, hit eight home runs and 27 RBI in 112 games as a Royal.

The Royals finished the 1982 season at 90-72, which in some years would be good enough for a playoff berth, but not in 1982. They finished second to a 93-win California team.

From 1976 to 1985, The Royals won at least 90 games in six seasons. They made the playoffs in each of those seasons…except for 1982. They spent 53 days in first place, the last of which was September 19. They had a two-game lead on September 17 but lost 11 of their final 17 games to kill any hopes of a Western Division championship. There’s nothing that really stands out about their record or why they couldn’t win the division. They played well in close games, winning 26 of 43 contests decided by one run. In the end California was just a bit better. The Angels were legit. They had Bob Boone, Fred Lynn, Bobby Grich, Rod Carew, Doug DeCinces, Brian Downing, Reggie Jackson and Don Baylor. That’s eight solid bats. Their staff ERA was 3.82 and they got career years from a few pitchers, most notably Geoff Zahn, who went 18-8. The Angels picked up Tommy John from the Yankees at the trade deadline and John delivered, beating Kansas City twice in the last 11 games of the season.

The Royals had some hot bats of their own. Hal McRae had a monster year for the Royals, slashing .308/.369/.542 with 27 home runs, a league leading 46 doubles and a league best and club record 133 RBI’s. Mac had a career best 332 total bases which was good for 4.1 WAR, a 4th place finish in the league MVP race and a Sliver Slugger award.

George Brett had a down year by his standards, but still put up a .301/.378/.505 line with 21 home runs, 82 RBI, and 101 runs scored. Willie Wilson blossomed into a full-fledged superstar by racking up 194 hits while winning the A.L. batting title with a .332/.365/.431 slash line. Wilson led the league with 15 triples and stole 37 bases while winning a Silver Slugger. Frank White also had an excellent year, with a .298/.318/.469 line which included 45 doubles. The batting average and doubles were career highs for Frank. He also led American League second basemen with 361 putouts and won his sixth consecutive Gold Glove. John Wathan set a major league record with most steals by a catcher by swiping 36 bags.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
The pitching staff was led by Larry Gura, who won a career best 18 games. Injuries limited Dennis Leonard to 130 innings and a 10-6 record. Dan Quisenberry led the league with 35 saves and posted a 9-7 record. Quiz appeared in 72 games and threw 136 innings all of which helped him finish third in the Cy Young voting and ninth in the MVP tally.

The Royals had some interesting games in 1982:

McRae and Willie Mays Aikens both had five hit games, McRae’s coming on May 29th at Texas and Aiken’s on June 6 versus the Yankees.
Frank White hit for the cycle against the Tigers on August 3 and did it in dramatic fashion, delivering a two-out triple in the bottom of the ninth to score Onix Concepcion to give the Royals a 6-5 victory.
Aikens tied a club record with seven RBI in an 11-4 Royal victory over Oakland on September 30th.
The highlight of the pitching staff was a one-hitter thrown by Vida Blue on September 13 in a game at Royals Stadium against the Seattle Mariners. He only blemish on Blue’s night was a two-out single by former Yankee Bobby Brown in the sixth inning. Blue struck out six and only walked two in a game that scored an 89.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
On the Royals roster that summer was a young first baseman named Dennis Werth, whose stepson, Jayson Werth, would later go on to star for the Phillies. The community supported the Royals with almost 2.3 million fans going through the turnstiles. George Brett was the highest paid Royal, at a salary of $1 million, which seems quaint by today’s inflated standards. It’s almost laughable when compared on a salary/production basis to what some of the floating turds on the 2019 roster are making.

Five Royals made the All-Star team in 1982: Brett, McRae, White, Wilson and Quisenberry.

As for the Angels, they lost a five game Championship Series to the Brewers, who were also loaded with talent. The Brew Crew had mashers Ted Simmons, Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Ben Oglivie and Gorman Thomas. Their pitching staff was led by Pete Vuckovich and Mike Caldwell, who won 18 and 17 games respectively. Rollie Fingers had 29 saves. Vuckovich deserves special mention as he played one of the all-time great baseball movie characters, the arch villain Haywood, in Major League. Has there ever been a better line than “How’s your wife and my kids?” Also, on that 1982 Brewer team was a 27-year-old backup catcher who hit a career high .276/.324/.429 in 98 at-bats. His name? Ned Yost.

Danny Duffy Jersey

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The Royals go into this off-season coming off back-to-back 100-loss seasons, perhaps not unsurprising for a rebuilding team but undoubtedly a frustrating experience for General Manager Dayton Moore. More help seems to be on the way with a group of young pitchers from the 2018 draft class likely ready to make their Major League debuts within the next year, but in the meantime, the Royals may have to rely largely on a pitching staff that ranked third-worst in the American League in ERA.

This will be a year of transition for the Royals, with a new manager in Mike Matheny, Alex Gordon possibly retiring, and a new owner in John Sherman. Sherman has been pretty mum about his plans for the club so we really don’t know if the club plans on spending more money this offseason, or if they’ll cut costs as the team continues their rebuild.

Royals payrolls
Year Payroll
2012 $62,621,725
2013 $80,991,725
2014 $92,034,345
2015 $112,292,000
2016 $137,318,477
2017 $145,900,000
2018 $123,139,792
2019 $100,089,967
The Royals have saddled themselves with some expensive long-term contracts for Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, and Salvador Perez, but most of Alex Gordon’s contract will come off the books this year, save for a $4 million buyout. With the Gordon obligation lessened, and Whit Merrifield’s ridiculously below market rate deal, the Royals could have some financial flexibility.

Adding a wrinkle to matters is Jorge Soler’s unique deal. Soler is under contract through 2020 with a salary of $4.67 million. However, his contract allows him to opt-out of his deal. Since Soler is not yet eligible for free agency based on service time, he would go into the arbitration system, where he would stand to make around $8-10 million. After that season, he would still be under club control through 2021, and would have to go through the arbitraiton system again unless the Royals work out a contract with him.

The Royals also have three arbitration-eligible players this year. They will certainly tender a contract to Mike Montgomery, and Cheslor Cuthbert seems likely to be non-tendered. The Royals may decide to tender a contract to Jesse Hahn if they feel confident about his health situation.

Let’s look at the projected 2020 Royals’ payroll if we assume Jorge Soler opts out his deal, and the Royals tender all their arbitration-eligible players a contract, using the MLB Trade Rumors estimated salaries as a guide.

Royals projected 2020 payroll
Player 2020 2021 2022 2023
Ian Kennedy $16,500,000 Free agent
Danny Duffy $15,250,000 $15,500,000 Free agent
Salvador Perez $14,200,000 $14,200,000 Free agent
Whit Merrifield $5,000,000 $6,750,000 $2,750,000 $6,500,000
Alex Gordon (buyout) $4,000,000
Subtotal $54,950,000 $36,450,000 $2,750,000 $6,500,000
Arbitration-eligible 2020 est. 2021 2022 2023
Jorge Soler $10,500,000 Arbitration Free agent
Mike Montgomery $2,900,000 Arbitration Free agent
Cheslor Cuthbert $1,800,000 Arbitration Arbitration Free agent
Jesse Hahn $900,000 Arbitration Free agent
Subtotal $16,100,000
Remaining 17 players at $600,000 $10,200,000
Total payroll $81,250,000 $36,450,000 $2,750,000 $6,500,000
Source: Cot’s Contracts

Keep in mind, teams also have about $15 million in player benefit costs, and millions throughout the year in salaries to players on the 40-man roster, but not on the active roster.

Based on player salaries, the Royals project to have a payroll nearly $20 million below last year’s Opening Day figure. That would give them some room to pursue some lower-level free agents, perhaps some pitching depth or an outfielder to replace Alex Gordon if he retires.

But considering how well the Royals have fared in free agency the last few seasons, they may just lay low this winter. Adding free agents may also block younger players the Royals will want to get a look at as they build their team back up. We also don’t what Sherman intends with payroll. If his ownership group took on debt to purchase the club, they may have to cut costs for a few seasons.

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KANSAS CITY — We are now officially knee-deep in the offseason, as the General Managers Meetings are underway, the Royals have a new manager in Mike Matheny and in 10 days or so the club will have a new owner (John Sherman).

With that, let’s get to your questions for this week’s Royals Inbox. And as a programming note, after this week, Royals Inboxes will begin running on Friday each week.

Again, another terrific list of questions and we apologize that we only got to a portion of them. But keep those unanswered questions on hand for the next go-around, and we’ll get to them eventually. Promise.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Jackie LaVigne
@bballgurl1000
do you have any doubts that salvy won’t be the same player he was pre-surgery?

1:01 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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All the reports I’ve received this offseason are that Salvador Perez is right on schedule, maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule. He’s working out in Miami and should be all-systems-go come Spring Training. It’s never a given that anyone — catchers or pitchers — bounces back 100 percent from Tommy John surgery. But Perez is getting expert advice in his rehab — particularly from people like coach Vance Wilson — who had the surgery in back-to-back years toward the end of his career with the Tigers. Salvy is in good hands.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Bryce
@BPerryKC
Is Pedro Grifol staying with the Royals now that he’s no longer a candidate for the Giants job?

2
1:46 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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Matheny spent the last week calling the coaching staff and he was able to reach everyone, including Pedro Grifol, who is no longer in the running for the Giants’ managerial job. All the conversations — I’m told — were very positive between Matheny and the coaches. Nothing officially has been announced yet but Grifol is expected to be back. I reported last week that pitching coach Cal Eldred, a close friend of Matheny’s for over 25 years, will also be back. It wouldn’t appear that there will be much of a shakeup on the staff.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Cody
@CodyStormPanic
Do the Royals have any interest or chance at signing Zach Wheeler this offseason? What are the ramifications for the Royals to signing a free agent who has received a qualifing offer?

2
12:47 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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Not sure at this point if it would make sense to sign Zack Wheeler to a long-term deal. Industry estimates that Wheeler could get somewhere between $68-72 million over four years. Why would that be logical for a Royals team still at least two years from contending? Wheeler certainly could help the rotation but the timing would be odd to go all-in there.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Kelley Stumph
@StumphKelley
Is Whit going to be at 2nd base next year? Come on he deserves it!

1:52 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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Certainly, Whit Merrifield would like to play second base. That is his preferred position. But the Royals have a prospect in Nicky Lopez there — remember Lopez, the player Royals fans were pleading, pitchforks in hand, to be promoted last May? If Adalberto Mondesi (shoulder surgery) is ready to go by Opening Day, Lopez will be at second base and Merrifield will either be in right field or left field, depending upon Alex Gordon’s retirement decision.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Max Rieper
@maxrieper
Did the Royals ever reveal the external candidates they considered for the managerial job?

2
12:37 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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I reported last month that the Royals indeed interviewed “some” external candidates for the manager’s job. They did not bring them into Kansas City, but instead interviewed them remotely, either by phone or in person in another market. The identity of these candidates has been guarded extremely well, and one reason for this, I’m told, is that the Royals didn’t want the candidates bothered by reporters’ phone calls during the process. I’m still digging into this situation and will pass any information along as I get it.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Tomorrow3
@SkomalTerri
What do the guys do over the winter break? Work out? Play somewhere else? I would imagine they need to stay in shape.

2
2:48 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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As one player once told me in the last few years, a player’s offseason lasts about 10 days. Players either go to play winter ball or immediately launch into their offseason training programs. By the end of January, it’s basically time for Spring Training, so there is very little down time.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Jeff Fett
@jeff_fett
I know Sherman isn’t the official owner yet, but how much input does he have in the decisions right now from the hiring of Matheny to payroll this offseason? Is Dayton running under the guidance of him right now?

2
12:43 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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The Royals have known about the Sherman transition for almost a year, so he has been in contact with Dayton Moore for much of that time. Though Sherman is not officially the new owner yet, decisions have had to be made regarding Matheny, the coaching staff, the budget (that’s crucial), the pending television deal, etc. Moore and Sherman have been in close contact throughout the last 10 months.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Christopher Tenpenny
@Tenpenny88
Do you think this team will go after an outfield bat even if Gordon returns? Like a Corey Dickerson or Avisial Garcia? Or would it be one of the lesser guys?

2
12:59 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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The Royals won’t be making any big free-agent splashes, but they will be looking for cost-effective arms, and possibly a bargain free-agent outfielder, whether Gordon comes back or not. Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling are out of options, so the guess here is they will be on the 26-man roster next year as the Royals try to determine their long-term future with the team.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Devin Reynolds
@dreynolds1345
What are the plans for the pen this year? Will Kennedy be slated as the full time closer? Who are the best options for the 7th and 8th?

2
2:08 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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At this point, yes, Ian Kennedy will come back as the closer, and the Royals have Scott Barlow and Tim Hill — both of whom finished 2019 strong — as the setup men. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got an affordable free-agent to help the bridge to Kennedy – Jake Diekman? Moore definitely will be combing the market for bargains.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

john taylor
@kctaylor35
Any chance we bring moose back. We need lh power bat to protect soler

1:00 AM – Nov 9, 2019 · Lenexa, KS
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The problem with bringing Mike Moustakas back is that he’s not interested in signing a one-year deal anywhere, and the Royals aren’t really interested in multiyear deals in this stage of their rebuild. Plus, Hunter Dozier’s improved defense has made him a lock as the third baseman of the future. There’s no value in bringing Moose back for a team years away from contending. He wouldn’t be interested anyway.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Johnny Germano
@BigCat1986
Is there hope the new ownership will make a splash in free agency this year especially with the new tv contract in the works?

11:36 PM – Nov 9, 2019
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I’ve answered this one quite a bit over the last two months, but hey, one more time. Don’t expect new ownership to make a big splash in free agency. The Royals are at least two years away from having a team talented enough to contend for the playoffs. Throwing money at one or two free agents simply as a public-relations move would be wasteful.

Jeffrey Flanagan

@FlannyMLB
· Nov 9, 2019
OK, #Royals fans. It’s been almost two weeks since we did our last Royals Inbox. You know the drill: Fire away with your questions and concerns. We’ll run this on Monday. Cheers.

Croix Thompson, MBA
@CroixThompson
What operating model will the new owner bring to the royals? Win now or wait a long time to be competitive?

1
12:38 AM – Nov 9, 2019
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I have been told repeatedly that Sherman will operate the Royals much like David Glass did, with an eye on determining when the most opportunistic time is to go all-in payroll wise. Look, a new owner isn’t going to change Kansas City’s market size. The Royals will still have limited resources, no matter who the owner is. They will have a new TV deal, which could add about $25 million or so in revenue. But compare that TV money to the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels or Rangers. Small-market owners still have to play it smart.

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Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has a great chance to break Steve Balboni‘s franchise record for home runs in a season. That is, as long as he stays healthy.
The Kansas City Royals single season home run record may well be one of the more pathetic marks in baseball. Set by Steve Balboni in 1985, the burly slugger hit 36 home runs as the Royals won the World Series. While a few players have come close, no one has surpassed Balboni’s mark, leaving the Royals as the only team without a 40 home run hitter in their history.

That could be changing this year. Third baseman Mike Moustakas already has 32 homers on the season, and seemingly has Balboni dead to rights. It would take an injury or a sudden power outage for Moustakas to keep from passing Balboni, and possibly becoming the first Royal to get that elusive 40 homers. Well…

Mike Moustakas was battling a sore knee after the fluid drained from getting hit by Bruce Rondon. Something appears to be hindering him.

It appears as though the Ghost of Steve Balboni will not go down without a fight. As Moustakas was in the lineup on Tuesday, albeit as a designated hitter, that soreness from being hit by a Bruce Rondon pitch does not appear to be serious. But, if there is something hindering the Royals slugger, Balboni Watch may bear watching for another reason.

At this point, Moustakas is the Royals best, and likely, only chance to end Balboni’s reign of terror. Salvador Perez, the only other member of the Royals with more than 20 homers, is on the disabled list with an intercostal strain. It is all up to Moustakas if the Ghost of Balboni will finally be exorcised.

Fortunately for the Kansas City Royals, Mike Moustakas’ injury does not appear to be major. But it does serve as a reminder that Steve Balboni will not go down without a fight.