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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Death, Taxes, and Tony Pena's Optimism 

Is anyone surprised that Tony Pena still believes? (KC Star)
Denny Hocking signed a minor league contract with the Royals on Thursday. He’ll get $500K if he’s added to the big league roster. (AP)
Dee Brown signed a minor league contract with the Devil Rays on Wednesday. (KC Star)

Around The Horn looks at the Royals middle infielders in 2005. (MLB)
Last week’s minicamp focused on the young players. (KC Star)
Dick Kaegel makes a few predictions in the Royals Mailbag. (MLB)

Tax Increment Financing may be in the future for the Truman Sports Complex. (The Business Journal)
May 1st is Jackson County’s deadline to decide what, if anything, will be done about the Stadium. I really hope they don’t go with the rolling roof between Kauffman and Arrowhead. (KC Star)
Kevin Collinson thinks that a downtown ballpark might be the ultimate solution. (KC Star)

2005 Royals Hall of Fame inductee Bret Saberhagen visited Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday. (KC Star)
Saberhagen looks like he could head out to the mound this season, but he’ll be busy at Calabasas HS. (Examiner)
Whitey Herzog remembers 1985. He contends it was the loss of Vince Coleman that doomed the Cardinals in the Series. (STLtoday)

Here’s a nice student newspaper article on Buck O’Neil. (The UW Daily)
Kansas State President Jon Wefald’s friendship with Buck O’Neil, and an essay Wefald wrote have led to Warner Brothers announcing a Negro Leagues miniseries to be broadcast after the 2006 World Series. Suzanne De Passe, who produced the Lonesome Dove miniseries, will be the executive producer of the movie. (KC Star, Newswise, Filmstew)

Rob Neyer mentions Hal McRae’s base running tactics in his most recent column:

“Hal McRae was the most aggressive baserunner of the 1970s, a man who left home plate thinking "double" every time he hit the ball. The rule allowing the second base umpire to call a double play if the runner from first leaves the baseline to take out the pivot man is known informally as the McRae rule. He was probably thrown out on the bases, I would guess, 40 times a season. He took the lessons of the early Big Red Machine, and transmitted them to the Kansas City Royals …”
-- The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
I remember reading that passage and thinking to myself, "Geez, if McRae was really making that many outs, he was killing the Royals."
He wasn't. McRae certainly was aggressive – and yes, exciting – but he wasn't thrown out anything like 40 times per season. From 1974 through 1979, the five years in the 1970s that McRae spent with the Royals, he was thrown out, trying to take the extra base either as batter or runner, 74 times. And of those 74 times, only 26 came immediately following a hit; that is, only 26 times in six years was he thrown trying to stretch a single to a double, a double to a triple, or (perhaps) a triple to a home run. (My thanks to Retrosheet for that information.)
(ESPN Insider)

Blogging the Royals:
Royal Blog, the “dean” of Royals weblogs, is back with a new layout.
And U L’s Toothpick has been revived as well.
Kevin’s Royals Blog has a nice article today on Jeremy Affeldt.
And finally, please check out my latest Royals Court post, which looks at the 2005 Royals pitching staff.

On the Farm:
In the Puerto Rican League playoffs, Ruben Gotay went 2 for 2 with a double, a homer, and two walks on Sunday. He’s hitting .211.
He went 1 for 3 with a walk on Saturday. (BA)

Aaron Gleeman is reviewing his top 50 prospects list from a year ago. Here’s what he has to say about Justin Huber and David DeJesus:

44) Justin Huber, Kansas City Royals
What I said then: "Huber is not considered the greatest defensive catcher, but the man can hit. ... He's got good plate discipline and solid power, although he strikes out more than you'd like to see. ... Huber should be ready for an everyday gig sometime around 2005."
What happened since: Though he spent time at three different levels in 2004, Huber saw the bulk of his action at Double-A, hitting .271/.414/.487 with 11 homers, 16 doubles, and 46 walks in 70 games. He was traded from the Mets to the Royals at midseason, but never saw action in Kansas City's system because of a knee injury.


38) David DeJesus, Kansas City Royals
What I said then: "Should Carlos Beltran leave after (or during) the season, DeJesus will be his replacement in center field. ... He'll be a good one and he's just about ready."

What happened since: DeJesus began the year at Triple-A, hitting .315/.400/.518 with six homers, 14 doubles, and 21 walks in 50 games, and then took over as the Royals' centerfielder when Beltran was traded to Houston at midseason. He played a total of 96 games for Kansas City, hitting .287/.360/.402 with seven homers, 15 doubles, and 33 walks, including .314/.385/.453 after the All-Star break.
(The Hardball Times)

// posted by Harley @ 8:48 AM

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sweeney Shipping Out? 

Mike Sweeney said on Thursday that he felt “misled” by David Glass and Allard Baird. Sweeney says that he was told that the Royals’ payroll would incrementally increase to the $60M range, instead of dropping to $41M. Glass reports that he doesn’t recall telling Sweeney about any payroll increase.
The current rumor is that Sweeney is willing to forgo his no-trade clause in order to play for a contender. But with his $11M contract and back problems, that just doesn’t seem very likely. Here‘s Jeff Passan’s take on Sweeney‘s possibilities with LA, Florida, the Mets, Baltimore, and Boston. (KC Star)
Brian McRae points out that Sweeney doesn’t really fit the “team captain” role. (KC Star)
And Joe Posnanski points out that we’ve heard these outbursts of frustration from Sweeney before. (KC Star)

Personally, I’d be sad to see Sweeney finish his career anywhere but Kansas City. But he’s pulling down more that 25% of the team’s payroll this season, which definitely isn’t commensurate with his value. Take that away and the Royals’ highest-paid player is Terrence Long, at $3.575M. If we can trade Sweeney for any good prospects, I think that would be a smart move. And splitting first base between Ken Harvey and Calvin Pickering would be just fine by me.

Jeremy Affeldt has filed for salary arbitration. According to The Transaction Guy, Affeldt is asking for $1.2M and the club has offered $950K. (MLB)
Rob & Rany on the possibility of picking up Steve Reed. And they discuss the Jose Lima signing--and agree that he should be traded by midseason. (robneyer.com)
Royals minicamp convenes in Surprise, Arizona, this week, with 31 players participating. (KC Star)
The Royals Caravan goes to Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, Junction City, Salina, Wichita, and Emporia, Kansas, from January 27-29. (MLB)
The Royals Hot Stove Show continues tonight at the Amerisports Brew Pub. The show will also be broadcast the next four Tuesday nights, from different locations. (MLB)

The first base side is quite a bit heavier for the Royals’ infield corners. (MLB)
Dick Kaegel with the Royals mailbag, on Shane Costa, Mitch Maier, and other possible left fielders. And this week‘s edition, on David DeJesus, the Royals Caravan, spring training invitees, and Moneyball. (MLB)
Is Abraham Nunez the power-hitting outfielder the Royals are looking for? (MLB)
John Sickels takes a look at Leo Nunez. (ESPN)

Bret Saberhagen will be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame this summer. (KC Star)
Denny Matthews: hockey player. (KC Star)
Joe Posnanski on Carlos Beltran and $. (KC Star)
“Former Royal” Juan Gonzalez signed a minor league contract with Cleveland on Saturday. Miguel Asencio was picked up by San Diego, who now has a trio of former Royals pitchers. And Wilton Guerrero signed a minor league deal with St. Louis. All six of the Royals’ departing free agents are now signed. (MLB, STLtoday)

Buck O’Neil visited the Seattle area last week, touring with a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum exhibit. (seattlepi.com)

On the Farm:
On Thursday, Denny Bautista took a loss in the Dominican League. He threw 2 innings, allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. His ERA stands at 9.00. (BA)

Bautista ranks 54th in the Wait Til Next Year 75:
…I’ve always been particularly fond of Bautista, who to me was the most impressive player in the 2003 Futures Game, of which I attended. Control is always going to be a bit of an issue with Bautista, both his walks and wild pitch numbers have always remained quite high. What the game in 2003 might have proved to me, however, is that naysayers are correct in predicting Bautista’s eventual move to the bullpen. This is because in his inning of work in U.S. Cellular that year, Bautista was throwing a heavy fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s. 2005 will be Denny’s sixth season in the minor leagues, and if he doesn’t really impress, could be his last as a starter…

Mark Teahen ranks 60th:
…I wouldn’t be the first person to compare Mark with Joe Randa, and I probably will not be the last. In his second trip to AAA, a 233 at-bat (similar to Teahen’s 246) excursion in 1995, Joe Randa hit .275 with a .438 slugging, with 22 walks and 33 strikeouts. Mark hit .280/.447, with 21 walks and 69 strikeouts, which pretty much represents the sole difference between the two. Don’t get too excited about his Texas League numbers, as his BABIP was .402, so those numbers hardly represent his ceiling. But judging by what Joe Randa did as a rookie in 1996 (.303/.351/.433), don’t rule Teahen out in the Rookie of the Year race.

Be sure to check out the full list. (WTNY)

Royals Court:
Today's Royals Court post compares Bill James' 2005 Royals projections with the 2005 ZiPS projections.

// posted by Harley @ 8:41 AM

Monday, January 10, 2005

January is the Longest Month 

Five more players have been invited to spring training: pitchers Ryan Jensen and Jonah Bayliss, infielders Luis Ugueto and Darren Fenster, and outfielder Emil Brown. (MLB)

Jeff Montgomery received 2 votes for the Hall of Fame! It wasn’t enough to return for next year’s ballot, though. (KC Star)
John Buck figures to be a common sight in the lineup in 2005. (MLB)
Joe Posnanski on Jose Lima, Bert Blyleven, and Dan Quisenberry. (KC Star)
Spring Training tickets are now on sale! (MLB)
The Royals announced several promotions and appointments in the organization last week. (MLB)

Desi Relaford has signed with Colorado. (MLB)
Former Royal Carlos Beltran appears to be heading to Shea Stadium. (AP)

Jeremy Affeldt will speak at Northland Cathedral’s Men’s Dinner of the Champions on Tuesday, January 25. (KC Star)

On the Farm:
Santiago Ramirez, a minor league free agent signed by the Royals, has been having an excellent winter. (MLB)

Royals Court:
This week at Royals Court, I’m looking at some of the numbers behind KC’s off-season transactions.

This Date in Royals History:
January 11, 1968—Ewing Kauffman becomes the owner of KC’s new AL franchise.

// posted by Harley @ 8:45 AM

Monday, January 03, 2005

Will Pickering Ride the Pine? 

Rob & Rany on the colossal mistake that would be keeping Calvin Pickering out of the lineup for another season. (robneyer.com)

Prospectus Triple Play on Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Andy Sisco, and more. Scroll down for the Royals section. (BP)
Dick Kaegel with a quick preview for 2005. (MLB)

Jeff Montgomery is honored to be on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. (MLB)
The LA Times reacts to the Jose Lima signing. (latimes.com)

On the Farm:
On Sunday, Ruben Gotay went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and 2 RBI. He’s hitting .225 in the Puerto Rican League. (BA)

New Blog:
Kevin's Royals Blog is a fun read, even is he is a little too obsessed with Ashlee Simpson.

Going to Court:
Finally, I invite you all to read my new columns over at Royals Court, where I'll be partnering with Bill Heeter as a regular contributor. Since this site focuses mainly on news, my Royals Court columns will give me a chance to do more with statistics and analysis. Hope you enjoy it!

// posted by Harley @ 10:40 AM