Via Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Royals GM Dayton Moore details the elements of an uncertain offseason for Kansas City. The organization will go “one of two ways”, according to Moore. The first option is obvious; the club could choose to “gut the team” in a complete teardown, saving money and going for high draft picks. But Moore does detail an ambitious alternative: trying to retain their free agent stars. “Everybody assumes that we are just going to just get blown away in free agency, and we don’t have a chance,” he tells Dodd. “They may be right, but I think everybody felt that way about Alex Gordon at the time. That fell back to us. You just never really know.” Indeed, there are rumblings that one of the Royals’ biggest offseason priorities will be to retain star first baseman Eric Hosmer. But with the 2017 Royals’ payroll setting a franchise record for the fifth consecutive year while delivering a losing season, Moore does make one blunt concession. “It’s very clear to us that we need to get younger and more athletic. We’re going to continue with that mindset as we go forward into the future.”
More from baseball’s central divisions…
- Ken Rosenthal details the elements of a bittersweet postseason for Reds scouting director Chris Buckley in a piece for The Athletic (subscription required and recommended). Seven players originally signed by the Reds are currently playing October baseball with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, including infielders Didi Gregorius and Justin Turner. While the presence of former Cincinnati signees gives Buckley a clear rooting interest, it also evokes painful memories of the two scouts he lost to cancer in recent years.
- David Waldstein of the New York Times tells the fascinating story of how superstar infielder Jose Ramirez first came to the Indians. According to Waldstein, Ramon Pena (then an international scout for Cleveland) attended a three-game showcase in the Dominican Republic largely to gawk at invitees Jorge Alfaro and Martin Peguero, but noticed Ramirez playing with surprising confidence and determination. During a subsequent telephone call with a local trainer who represented the players, Pena was focused on trying to sign Alfaro. When he learned that Alfaro was asking for $1.5 million, the conversation shifted to Ramirez. Pena eventually talked the trainer down from $300,000 all the way to $50,000. After an agreement was in place, however, Pena was unable to gather the papers required for Ramirez to play in the United States, so he sat out the 2010 season and instead spent the year working out at the Indians’ facility in Boca Chica. The team managed to get Ramirez’ papers in order in time for the 2011 season, and Ramirez sped through the minor leagues, making his MLB debut just two years later.