Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T06:04:14Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Royals’ Managerial Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177859 2019-10-23T06:04:14Z 2019-10-23T06:03:19Z It continues to look as if the Royals’ next manager will come from within the organization. Special advisor Mike Matheny is still “the strong favorite” to land the position, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). However, the Royals aren’t simply going to hand him the job. They just completed a two-day interview with bullpen coach Vance Wilson, Sherman reports.

Matheny, who managed the Cardinals from 2012-18, has also landed on other clubs’ radars this fall. But he rebuffed at least one team – the Mets – per Sherman, who adds Matheny indicated to New York he’s focused on getting the KC gig. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see that happen, as the 49-year-old Matheny has looked like an obvious potential successor to now-retired manager Ned Yost since the Royals hired the former last offseason. Of course, that’s not to say Royals fans would be content with the selection of Matheny , who was an oft-derided figure during his time in St. Louis.

Like Matheny, Wilson brings several years’ experience as a major league catcher to the table. Although Wilson hasn’t gotten a chance to manage in the majors yet, he did serve as a skipper for multiple low-level Royals affiliates for a combined seven years. The team promoted Wilson, 46, to its MLB coaching staff entering the 2018 season.

Aside from Matheny and Wilson, two other Royals assistants – quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol and bench coach Dale Sveum – have been mentioned as possibilities to take over for Yost. There’s no word on whether they’ve formally interviewed anyone but Wilson, however, and Grifol has drawn serious interest from at least one other known club (the Giants). With an ownership change on the way, the Royals don’t have much choice but to take their time with this decision.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitchers Recently Electing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177773 2019-10-22T15:43:42Z 2019-10-22T14:56:58Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

We already rounded up the position players. Now, here are the pitchers that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Richard Lovelady To Miss 6-8 Weeks After Knee Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177465 2019-10-18T02:24:25Z 2019-10-18T02:24:25Z
  • Royals left-hander Richard Lovelady also went under the knife, as the team announced that the rookie will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks after right knee surgery.  A tenth-round pick in the 2016 draft, Lovelady made his MLB debut last season, posting a 7.65 ERA over 20 innings (25 games) out of Kansas City’s bullpen.  A .412 BABIP contributed to Lovelady’s inflated ERA, as his 4.16 FIP/4.75 xFIP/4.58 SIERA presented a much more respectable picture of his first season.  The 24-year-old is expected to compete for a job in the Royals’ pen during Spring Training.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2020 Managerial Search Tracker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177217 2019-10-23T05:55:16Z 2019-10-17T20:43:27Z Eight teams were looking for new skippers in October, and loads of potential candidates have been either rumored or directly connected to these job openings. We’ll do our best to keep things straight in this post….

    Angels

    Hired

    • Joe MaddonFormer Cubs/Rays manager, former Angels bench coach/interim manager

    Interviewed

    • John Farrell: Former Red Sox/Blue Jays manager
    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Johnny Washington: Padres hitting coach

    Reportedly Received Consideration

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eric Chavez: Angels special assistant

    Cubs

    Interviewing

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Loretta: Current Cubs bench coach
    • David Ross: Former Cubs/Red Sox catcher, current ESPN analyst
    • Will Venable: Current Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Those six are said to be the final remaining candidates.

    Giants

    Interviewing

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Hensley Meulens: Giants bench coach
    • Ron Wotus: Giants third base coach
    • Matt Quatraro: Rays bench coach, former Indians assistant hitting coach
    • Will Venable: Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Raul Ibanez: Dodgers special assistant
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Mets

    Interviewing

    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Carlos Beltran: Special assistant to Yankees GM, former MLB outfielder
    • Tim Bogar: Nationals first base coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eduardo Perez: ESPN analyst, former Astros bench coach, former Puerto Rican Winter League Manager of the Year
    • Skip Schumaker: Padres first base coach, former Padres baseball ops/player development assistant, former MLB utilityman
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Luis Rojas: Mets quality control coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Buck Showalter: former Orioles/Yankees manager
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Padres

    Interviewing

    • Ron Washington: Braves third base coach, former Rangers manager
    • Brad Ausmus: former Angels/Tigers manager
    • Rod Barajas: Padres interim manager, former bench coach
    • Jayce Tingler: Rangers player development field coordinator
    • Bob Henley: Nationals third base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Joe Maddon 
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Pirates

    Interviewing

    • Ryan Christenson: Athletics bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Stubby Clapp: Cardinals first base coach, former minor-league manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Jeff Banister: Pirates special assistant; former Rangers manager, Pirates bench coach
    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Phillies

    Interviewing

    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Dusty Baker: Special advisor to Giants; former Nationals/Reds/Cubs manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • No other reported names under consideration

    Royals

    Interviewing

    • Vance Wilson: Royals bullpen coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Mike Matheny: Royals special advisor
    • Dale Sveum: Royals bench coach
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Mike Matheny]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177340 2019-10-16T18:02:25Z 2019-10-16T17:33:51Z October 16 is an important date in the histories of the Royals and White Sox, as the two teams each clinched the American League pennant on this day back in 1985 and 2005, respectively.  Kansas City recorded a 6-2 win over the Blue Jays in Game Seven of the 1985 ALCS, completing the comeback after being down 3-1 in the series and winning the second AL pennant in club history.  The Royals went on to take the further step of capturing the franchise’s first World Series that came October, topping the Cardinals in another seven-game set.  The 2005 ALCS was also Chicago’s first step en route to a World Series title, as the White Sox beat the Angels in five games before sweeping the Astros in the Fall Classic.  2005 ended a pair of long droughts for the White Sox, as it marked the club’s first pennant since 1959 and its first World Series title since 1917.

    • The Giants, Padres, and Mets have all shown some interest in Royals special advisor Mike Matheny as a possible candidate to fill their managerial vacancies, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes.  Matheny hasn’t been linked to any of those clubs for an interview, however, and “word has it that the Padres are going another direction,” Flanagan writes.  [UPDATE: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants hadn’t spoken to Matheny as of three days ago.]  All three of those teams have already amassed a long list of candidates for interviews, as you can follow via MLB Trade Rumors’ central post for the many rumors and reports floating around concerning the offseason managerial carousel.  Matheny has also been widely tabbed as the leading contender to be the Royals’ next manager, and while Flanagan notes that Matheny’s hiring is “not as certain as it once was,” the former Cardinals skipper still appears to be “the odds-on favorite” for the job.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giants Interview Pedro Grifol]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177043 2019-10-12T05:03:41Z 2019-10-12T05:03:41Z The Giants have a fourth known candidate in their search for a replacement for iconic manager Bruce Bochy. The club interviewed Royals quality control and catching coach Pedro Grifol for the position on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The Giants have also shown interest in two of their own assistants – bench coach Hensley Meulens and third base coach Ron Wotus – as well as Athletics quality control Mark Kotsay.

    Of the eight teams looking for managers, the Giants are the second who are known to be considering Grifol, a former minor league catcher. The soon-to-be 50-year-old is also on a list of possibilities for the Royals, with whom he has worked in a few roles since 2013. He previously garnered professional managerial experience with the Seattle organization from 2003-05 and in ’12.

    If there’s an obvious common theme among the Giants’ group of candidates, it’s that not a single one of them has managed at the big league level. But plenty of teams have turned to novices in recent years, including three of the remaining four clubs in the playoffs (the Nationals, Cardinals and Yankees), and the Giants may be the next to do so. Of course, with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi having said he’ll interview six to eight individuals for the role, there could still be an experienced option(s) on San Francisco’s radar.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Most Desirable Managerial Opening?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176878 2019-10-11T00:12:15Z 2019-10-11T00:12:15Z The Phillies fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday, leaving them as one of eight major league teams searching for a manager at the moment. Fellow National League clubs in the Padres, Mets, Pirates, Giants and Cubs are in the same position, while the Royals and Angels are seeking new skippers in the AL. The question is: Which team has the most desirable job?

    For starters, we can probably rule out the Pirates and Royals. Both teams have been hamstrung by low payrolls, with notoriously penny-pinching ownership holding back Pittsburgh and Kansas City (a team whose ownership is in transition) coming off its second 100-loss season in a row. Neither team looks as if it’ll contend in the immediate future, and the same may apply to the Giants, though they are a club with big-spending capabilities and promising president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi at the helm. On the other hand, the rest of the league’s manager-needy organizations look to have decent odds of pushing for relevance sooner than later.

    The Phillies just wrapped up their eighth consecutive non-playoff season, but with 81 wins, they weren’t exactly a basement dweller. Kapler’s successor will be taking over a team with big-time talent on hand (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Aaron Nola, to name a few) and the spending power to amply address its most obvious weaknesses this offseason.

    Like the Phillies, the Padres have been suffering for too long. They’re fresh off their 13th straight year without a playoff berth, but they’re another team with front-line talent (Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Chris Paddack). Moreover, the Padres remain loaded on the farm, and owner Ron Fowler has made it clear it’s time to start winning in 2020.

    The Mets also have no shortage of top-line players, including ace Jacob deGrom and NL Rookie of the Year favorite Pete Alonso. However, their managerial position is probably the most pressure-packed of all the openings. Previous skipper Mickey Callaway oversaw an 86-win team in 2019, but he dealt with scrutiny from the media, fans and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen from start to finish.

    There’s also high expectations in Chicago, where even an exemplary record over five years wasn’t enough to keep Joe Maddon employed. The Cubs and president of baseball ops Theo Epstein gave Maddon the boot even though he helped them break a 108-year World Series drought in 2016 and led them to an overall 471-339 regular-season record with four playoff berths during his reign. But the Cubs, another financially well-off club with enviable high-end talent (Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Hendricks, for example), saw enough of Maddon after a late-season collapse and a non-playoff showing in 2019. Maddon’s replacement will be inheriting an 84-win team that will have playoff expectations for next year.

    The Angels, who seem like the favorites to land Maddon next, are another franchise with a sense of urgency to win in 2020. Despite the presence of the game’s best player, center fielder Mike Trout, they haven’t gone to the playoffs since 2014. The Halos haven’t even won a playoff game since October 2009, just a few months after drafting Trout.  With fourth-year general manager Billy Eppler set to enter the last season of his contract in 2020, it’s imperative for him to get this hire right (his previous selection of Brad Ausmus didn’t work out). Otherwise, he and the Angels’ next manager could be out a year from now.

    That’s a basic overview of where the sport’s manager-less teams stand heading into the offseason. There are more factors you could consider, of course. Which job looks the most appealing to you?

    (Poll link for app users)

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals GM Dayton Moore Discusses Managerial Search, Roster Needs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176548 2019-10-08T18:03:41Z 2019-10-08T04:24:23Z Royals GM Dayton Moore held a brief chat with Jon Heyman and Josh Lewin on the Big Time Baseball Podcast (audio link). We’ll touch on some of the highlights here.

    With long-tenured manager Ned Yost having retired at the end of the Royals’ season, finding his successor is among the most important tasks on Moore’s plate. As of now, though, the Royals are still “vetting candidates” for the job and “have yet to go through a formal interview” with anyone, according to Moore. It seems in an ideal world, the club will promote Yost’s replacement from within. Moore talked up Royals assistants Mike Matheny, Dale Sveum, Pedro Grifol and Vance Wilson, declaring that they’re “strong candidates.”

    Matheny, who possesses by far the most managerial experience of any of the Royals’ possibilities, was at the helm of a Cardinals club that went 591-474 with four playoff berths and an NL pennant from 2012-18. Moore, cognizant of the success St. Louis had in the standings during that run, contends Matheny’s “an amazing leader” who “won every single year” with the franchise. Although Matheny received plenty of criticism throughout time with the Redbirds, Moore’s impressed that he was able to successfully transition from a long career as a big league catcher to that of a manager – all while taking over for Hall of Famer Tony La Russa.

    Since last November, a few months after his in-season firing with the Cardinals, Matheny has been serving as a special advisor in Kansas City. He’s “done excellent work” in that capacity, per Moore, who revealed Matheny “has options” and has been “sought out” by other clubs (though it’ s unclear if that implies teams are interested in Matheny as a manager).

    Whether the Royals tap Matheny or someone else for the role, that individual will be facing the grueling task of trying to get immediate results in the standings for KC. The Royals are coming off their second straight 100-loss season, though Moore & Co. nonetheless “feel good about our core group of young position players.” He specifically named third baseman Hunter Dozier, right fielder Jorge Soler, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (“one of the best talents in the game; just needs to get more consistent) and second baseman Nicky Lopez as potential building blocks who have age on their side. With the exception of Soler, whose contract is more complex than most, all of those players come with a few seasons of affordable control. As of now, it’s unknown whether the Royals will try to extend Soler, who’s coming off an age-27 season in which he mashed 48 home runs.

    As effective as Soler was in 2019, second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield still may be the centerpiece of the Royals’ cast of position players. Merrifield will turn 31 during the offseason, but having signed a team-friendly extension last winter, the rebuilding Royals aren’t under pressure to deal him. Moore has always resisted doing so despite vast interest from other clubs. Now, “nobody is untouchable,” and the Royals need to be “open-minded” until they know which opportunities could present themselves. However, Moore continues to regard Merrifield as a “special talent” and a “special person,” which suggests the club’s more than content to move ahead with the well-rounded All-Star.

    While the Royals do have some gems among their position players, they don’t look as well off on the pitching side. The Royals’ hurlers posted the majors’ fourth-worst ERA (5.20) this year, and Brad Keller – a 2017 Rule 5 acquisition – was their lone starter to put up average or better production across a full season. With those struggles in mind, Moore acknowledged that the Royals “gotta do a better job of developing pitching, acquiring pitching.”

    Looking ahead to 2020, the Royals will likely be in for another lean year. “We’ve got a ways to go,” said Moore, who didn’t offer a timeline on a possible return to contention. As you’d expect, though, the longtime exec indicated he and the franchise are bent on orchestrating a turnaround.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Matheny, Pedro Grifol Reportedly On Royals' "Short List"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176111 2019-10-03T04:09:23Z 2019-10-03T04:09:23Z
  • Even though they’re coming off their second straight 100-loss season, the Royals may be content to stay in-house to find retired manager Ned Yost’s replacement. Their “very short list” of candidates includes special advisor Mike Matheny and quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol, according to Pedro Gomez of ESPN. Matheny comes with vast experience as a manager at the sport’s highest level, having led the Cardinals from 2012-18. The Redbirds went a more-than-respectable 591-474 with four playoff berths in that span, but they missed the postseason in each of Matheny’s final three campaigns. While St. Louis put up nice overall results under Matheny, he was a frequent target of criticism throughout his tenure with the franchise. Grifol, who managed in the Seattle farm system from 2003-05 and again in 2012, has been a coach in the KC organization for seven years.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dayton Moore To Alex Gordon: "We Want You Back"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175604 2019-09-28T04:09:37Z 2019-09-28T03:53:06Z Once again, Royals general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear that the club wants left fielder Alex Gordon to return in 2020. According to Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star, Moore informed a group of season ticket holders that he told Gordon, “We want you back.” Moore added, “We’re a better ball club with Alex Gordon.” Set to turn 36 in February, Gordon indicated earlier this month he’s likely to wait until the winter to decide if he’ll continue playing next season. The career-long Royal has said he’ll only play for them if he does keep going. Gordon has a $23MM mutual option (or a $4MM buyout) for 2020, but the two sides figure to work out a much cheaper arrangement in the event he doesn’t retire.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Examining A Potential Jorge Soler Extension]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175536 2019-09-27T15:28:02Z 2019-09-27T15:28:02Z While it’s been a tough season for the Royals as a team, Jorge Soler has emerged as a bright spot in the heart of the lineup, hitting .262/.352/.555 with 45 home runs in a career-high 668 plate appearances. Long one of the game’s top hitting prospects, the now-27-year-old Soler (28 in February) has finally displayed the enormous raw power that garnered so much praise as a minor leaguer. Kansas City still controls Soler through 2021, but MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes in his latest Royals inbox column that he’s “convinced” the team will offer Soler an extension this winter.

    Soler’s current contractual status is a bit unique, as he signed a nine-year, $30MM contract with the Cubs back in 2012 when he was just 20 years old. International free agency wasn’t nearly as restricted then as it is now — under current rules, he’d have been limited to a minor league deal and likely garnered a signing bonus worth less than a quarter of that guarantee — and the Cubs committed both a lengthy term and sizable guarantee despite knowing he’d need to log time in the minors.

    Jorge Soler | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Soler is “signed” for the 2020 season at just $4MM, but he can opt out of that guaranteed salary and into MLB’s arbitration process this winter, as is the case with many Cuban defectors who signed Major League deals under the previous international free agency infrastructure. Based on his 45-homer campaign, he’s a lock to do just that. Arbitration raises for international players who opt out of this type of arrangement haven’t always been as steep as one might expect, but Soler will clearly top a $4MM salary. And since he’d be arb-eligible again in 2021, his salary for that season would be dependent on the size of the raise he gets in arbitration this winter.

    All of that would be rendered moot in the event of a new long-term arrangement, though. Soler and the Royals will surely be talking contract when arbitration figures are exchanged in January, and that seems like a reasonable point at which the two sides could avoid a particularly tricky arbitration case with a multi-year arrangement. If not then, Spring Training extensions are commonplace.

    There’s good reason for both parties to be amenable to a deal. Soler has banked a substantial sum in his career already but has yet to lock in a multi-year deal that pays him anywhere near open-market prices. The Royals, meanwhile, are aiming for a return to contention in 2021, and losing their top slugger at the end of that season would be a step backward. Soler is currently on track to become a free agent in advance of his age-30 season, so the Royals would be acquiring some additional prime years in a theoretical long-term deal.

    The price of Soler’s would-be free-agent seasons is up for debate. Nelson Cruz has played each of the past five seasons (2019 included) for an annual rate around $14.25MM. He was considerably older than Soler when he signed a four-year, $57MM deal with the Mariners and his most recent one year, $14.3MM deal with the Twins. Edwin Encarnacion secured a $20MM annual rate in his three-year deal with the Indians — a contract that began with his age-33 season. Both right-handed sluggers had considerably longer track records of productivity than does Soler when they signed their contracts, though, and both had the benefit of an open-market setting. Soler didn’t even log a full big league season with Kansas City in either 2017 or 2018, posting a combined .228/.322/.403 batting line through 367 plate appearances across those two years.

    Any power hitter’s production in 2019 is also going to be met with some skepticism as a result of this year’s explosive ball. That’s not to say the Royals should expect Soler to turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight on the 2019 season, but they’d be justified in pondering to what extent his power might scale back if the 2020 ball is more in line with previous seasons.

    The length of an extension, of course, will be the other key part of the debate. Recent extensions for players with between four and five years of service time include Randal Grichuk and Jean Segura, both of whom signed away three free-agent seasons in addition to their remaining two arbitration years. Segura’s deal included an option for another year. In the case of Soler, who has a limited track record and notable injury history, a contract that exceeds five seasons in length seems like a reach. A total of five guaranteed years seems attainable.

    Perhaps the biggest wild card in forecasting a possible extension value for Soler lies in the how his arbitration seasons are valued. As we saw with Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig and others, this type of contract is handled atypically in arbitration. Abreu hit .293/.353/.468 with 25 home runs the year before he opted into arbitration, and his salary only rose from $10MM to $10.825MM. A year later, he received a raise barely north of $2MM after posting an outstanding .304/.354/.552 slash with 33 homers. Puig, meanwhile, opted into arbitration last winter when he reached five-plus years of service time and, working from a smaller 2018 base salary of $6.5MM, jumped up to $9.7MM. He’d have earned $7.5MM had he stuck with his initial contract.

    Depending on how Soler’s arbitration seasons are valued, Grichuk’s five-year, $52MM contract could be a particularly relevant comparison. They’re different types of players, of course, but their final two arb seasons could fall within the same ballpark. The roughly $13MM annual rate at which Grichuk’s free-agent seasons were valued in his extension could also be a point of reference Soler’s camp seeks to top; doing so would put him in Cruz territory for the average annual value of his free-agent seasons. I’d imagine Soler would do a bit better than Grichuk in terms of overall guarantee, but something in that general vicinity seems like a plausible landing point for the burgeoning slugger.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Vance Wilson Expected To Receive Attention For Manager Openings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175490 2019-09-27T02:18:08Z 2019-09-27T02:18:08Z
  • Royals bullpen coach Vance Wilson is expected to be a managerial candidate this offseason, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets.  “Some executives believe he absolutely has a future as a manager,” Feinsand writes about the 46-year-old, who may be best known for an eight-year playing career with the Mets and Tigers from 1999-2006.  Wilson worked as a manager at three different levels of Kansas City’s farm system for seven seasons before moving into his current role as bullpen coach in November 2017.  It stands to reason that the Royals themselves would have interest in speaking to Wilson about their own managerial vacancy, potentially replacing the retiring Ned Yost.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Three Needs: Kansas City Royals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175420 2019-09-26T12:30:04Z 2019-09-26T12:30:04Z We’re continuing with our “Three Needs” series, in which we take a look at the chief issues to be addressed for clubs that have fallen out of contention. We’ve already focused on the MarinersTigersWhite SoxMarlinsRangersPirates, and Angels. Now we’re going to Kansas City to check in on a Royals team that just cracked 100 losses for the second-consecutive season — an ignominious feat they last accomplished in 2005-2006.

    [Kansas City Royals Depth Chart]

    1. Auction Off Whit Merrifield

    You never want to move a guy like this. But he’s closing in on his 31st birthday and showed a slight but noticeable downtick in the speed department last year, dropping from his 95th percentile highpoint to the 85.6th percentile in sprint speed. That’s still quite good, but the difference showed up in the results: Merrifield was successful on just 19 of 29 stolen base attempts a year after swiping 45 and generated 1.2 runs on the bases after tabbing 7.4 in 2018.

    We’re not pulling the fire alarm on Merrifield. Even if he’s merely a really good but sub-elite baserunner, he’s one of the game’s steadiest high-average hitters and continues to show solid pop. And while the metrics waffled a bit on the glovework, Merrifield still carries a track record of quality defensive play along with immense versatility.

    Add it all up, and … did we mention the Royals just lost 100 games for the second time in a row? Merrifield is a heck of a useful player on a nice contract. He’d basically fit on any team in baseball and might be a real difference-maker in the right situation. Everything about Merrifield’s profile screams for him to be sent to a contender. Keeping him is a luxury the Royals can’t afford.

    2. Pursue Extensions, But Don’t Over-Extend

    The core reason the Royals ought to move Merrifield is that a low-revenue team only has so many opportunities to achieve value and swing above its spending weight. Those must be maximized, particularly when the team is in a rebuilding phase. The same reasoning supports the pursuit of offseason extension negotiations — with some players, and to a point.

    Why the cautionary references? Because a team in this situation must maintain some serious future-looking spending discipline and focus primarily on improving its asset base rather than on avoiding the eventual departure of guys it likes.

    Convincing slugger Jorge Soler to commit into his thirties seems unnecessarily risky, even if he just enjoyed a nice campaign. Righty Brad Keller might be worth inking at the right price after another good season in terms of results, but the landmine detectors (5.24 SIERA, for example) are flashing red. A long-term arrangement with Adalberto Mondesi or even Hunter Dozier could deliver huge upside, and certainly ought to be considered, but the organization should pull hard on its leverage given the ongoing uncertainty with those players.

    3. Chase Some Upside In A Free Agent Signing

    There are lots of problems on the Royals roster. How could there not be? It doesn’t matter so much where the team decides to add — first base, middle infield, outfield, pitching of all varieties — as that it does so boldly. At least, it’s worth a serious attempt. Having already endured the bulk of the payroll hangover from the team’s recent run of success, there’s some payroll space to play with.

    Last year, the organization inked one-year deals with Billy Hamilton, Chris Owings, Jake Diekman, Brad Boxberger, Terrance Gore, and Kyle Zimmer. Those signings more or less flopped completely, though such is life when it comes to this kind of dealmaking. It was generally a defensible group of signings, including some younger players who had shown real talent in the past along with easily flippable veteran relievers.

    Continuing to make those kinds of signings is sensible, when the opportunities are there. But why not also ramp up the risk factor just a bit on a multi-year deal? Yasiel Puig, Avisail Garcia, and Corey Dickerson are interesting corner outfield targets; Alex Wood and Michael Wacha might like pitching in Kauffman. If any of those players struggle to find adequate arrangements elsewhere, they could be bailed out with a deal that spans multiple campaigns at a low-ish AAV — thus increasing the future trade value in the event that the anticipated bounceback comes to pass. With most of the market preferring to spend more for less years, there could be opportunities to swim against the tide and acquire somewhat higher-ceiling talent.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Adalberto Mondesi To Undergo Shoulder Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175340 2019-09-25T23:24:29Z 2019-09-25T23:24:29Z Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will undergo surgery next week to repair a tear near the joint of his left shoulder, the team announced to reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). Mondesi will recover five to six months to recover from the operation, per team trainer Nick Kenney, which could obviously impact his ability for the start of the 2020 season.

    It’s a discouraging development for the ultra-talented Mondesi, who has displayed a tantalizing combination of extra-base pop, blistering speed and strong defensive ratings at shortstop over the past two seasons. Mondesi only just turned 24 but has already amassed 26 home runs and 89 stolen bases in just 943 plate appearances at the MLB level. His questionable plate discipline and penchant for punching out will likely lead to persistent on-base issues, but the blend of speed, power and glovework makes him a clear foundational piece for the rebuilding Royals.

    The tear and subsequent shoulder surgery may call into question the Royals’ decision to bring Mondesi back into the fold at all. Mondesi missed two months with a subluxation of his left shoulder this summer but returned to the lineup on Sept. 1. At the time of his activation, manager Ned Yost suggested that Mondesi had been instructed not to dive for balls in the field or dive headfirst into bases for the remainder of the season (Twitter link via Flanagan). Mondesi, however, reinjured his shoulder doing precisely that: diving to his right for a hard grounder off the bat of Twins slugger Nelson Cruz (video link).

    Dating back to Opening Day 2018, Mondesi has hit at a .268/.297/.454 clip while generating 5.6 rWAR and 5.2 fWAR in a total of 177 games. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until next winter and is under club control through the 2023 season.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Moore: Royals Won't Hire Manager Until Ownership Change]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=175269 2019-09-25T18:33:44Z 2019-09-25T04:27:29Z
  • The retiring Ned Yost is in his final few days as the Royals’ manager, but it appears it’s going to be several weeks before the club finds his replacement. The Royals don’t expect to hire Yost’s successor until their forthcoming sale from David Glass to John Sherman goes through, according to general manager Dayton Moore (via the Associated Press). The franchise might not change hands until November, the AP notes. “I would never hire a manager … without complete 100 percent support of my boss,” Moore said.
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