Recently-acquired Royals utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist says that he’s very much open to a return to Kansas City, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. “Certainly, this had been one of the teams I liked the look of,” he said. “And now, since I’ve been here, it’s a place I want to stay longer. Being here has certainly done nothing but make this [team] go up on my list.” Of course, the versatile and still-productive 34-year-old figures to be as widely pursued on the winter’s free agent market as he was at this year’s trade deadline. Zobrist was already playing well before the trade, but has slashed an outstanding .357/.446/.600 in his first 83 plate appearances with his new club.
Here’s more from Kansas City and the rest of the AL Central:
- The Royals will hand the ball to Kris Medlen for his first start with the club on Monday, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. Medlen, 29, has returned nicely after a long layoff for multiple Tommy John surgeries, tossing 14 1/3 innings of 2.51 ERA ball with 14 strikeouts against five walks. His average fastball velocity is as good as ever. Medlen is owed just $5.5MM next year and can be controlled with a $10MM option ($1MM buyout) in 2017. So far, that’s looking like a nice risk for the Royals.
- Indians president Mark Shapiro declined to comment on recent reports indicating that he could be a candidate to take over the Blue Jays’ presidency, Zack Meisel of the Plain Dealer reports. The long-time Cleveland executive, still just 48 years old, could conceivably be enticed by the possibility of gaining “power and resources,” the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes writes in an interesting piece.
- There was a creeping sense of suspicion when he was not approached to discuss a new deal over the summer, former Tigers GM (and newly-minted Red Sox president of baseball operations) Dave Dombrowski tells MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio link). Dombrowski maintained, however, that he remains unaware what precisely led Detroit to release him from its contract when it did.
- Just-added Tigers lefty Daniel Norris could end up missing the rest of the year with an oblique injury, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. Manager Brad Ausmus says that Norris is likely to miss at least a month. The 22-year-old, added as the key piece of the David Price trade, figures to be a key piece of the Tigers rotation next year and for the foreseeable future. He recently joined the MLBTR Podcast to discuss that deal and his approach to the game.
Connecting the dots on DD:
Likely someone found out about some back channel exploring he was doing. It got to Ilitch and he fired him out of emotion. It did not help that the team was being rebooted at the time.
Overall, probably best for everyone. Avila has 3X the experience as Theo did when he took over the Red Sox. He deserved a chance.
First off, my team is a NL team and I don’t have any horses in this race at all. This is seen purely from the outside here.
Zobrist is 34 and will be coming off a good year. He’s looking to get PAID, for the first and only time. He’s been playing the bulk of his career in places like St Pete and Oakland. Find me two nicer stadiums, I dare you. We all know it can’t be done because those are the two that REALLY need replacing the most. To make matters worse, both of those organizations have a very different way of doing things, and have limited payrolls as well.
Now he find himself in Kansas City, in a beautiful ballpark, with a team that is trying to turn things around and create a future for itself. They have talent, they have a nice ballpark, and they are looking to spend money as needed to fill in some holes as they exist.
Why would he NOT love all of this? Who wouldn’t?