Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-20T02:45:19Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Kyle Zimmer Given Fourth Minor League Option]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190644 2020-02-17T06:05:32Z 2020-02-17T03:59:47Z
  • Kyle Zimmer was given a fourth minor league option by the league, the Royals right-hander told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan.  Players usually only have three option years, though a fourth option can sometimes be granted under certain circumstances — like, in Zimmer’s case, a wide range of injuries that have limited to just 341 total professional innings since being selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2012 draft.  Zimmer was finally healthy in 2019 and made his MLB debut, making 15 relief appearances for Kansas City and posting a 10.80 ERA over 18 1/3 innings.  With this fourth option year to work with, the Royals can now opt to start Zimmer in the minors to begin the season rather than potentially be forced into exposing him to waivers as an out-of-options player if they didn’t have a 26-man roster spot for him.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Salvador Perez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190272 2020-02-13T05:26:27Z 2020-02-13T05:26:27Z
  • After missing the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, Royals stalwart Salvador Perez is ahead of schedule and expected to be ready for Opening Day, new manager Mike Matheny told reporters (link via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). Perez is already throwing to second base without issue and is slated to meet with his doctors tomorrow for another check-in. Interestingly, Matheny suggested that Perez would not only see some time at designated hitter early in the season but also at first base, as the Royals look to be cautious with his throwing workload.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Ben Zobrist Reportedly Not Planning To Play In 2020]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190185 2020-02-12T18:16:19Z 2020-02-12T18:16:19Z Veteran utilityman Ben Zobrist is not planning to play in the current season, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). While nothing seems to have been set in stone, it now appears unlikely that the 38-year-old will resume his career.

    This is hardly a surprising outcome given the course of the 2019 season. Zobrist took time away from the Cubs to deal with family matters, sacrificing some of his salary in the final season of his $64MM deal. When he was available, Zobrist generally struggled.

    The switch-hitting, do-it-all performer didn’t lose his impeccable plate discipline last year, as he drew 23 walks against 24 strikeouts in 176 plate appearances. But his power all but disappeared, as he managed only six extra-base hits and a .313 slugging percentage to go with his .358 OBP.

    If indeed this is the end of the line, Zobrist will finish with a .266/.357/.426 lifetime triple-slash — which works out to a 116 wRC+. He added big value with his multi-positional defensive acumen and quality baserunning, leaving him with a tally of 44.4 fWAR and 45.2 rWAR over his 14 campaigns in the majors.

    Along the way, Zobrist played a pivotal role in redefining the way teams build their rosters. He was an everyday player in Tampa Bay, appearing in 153 games annually between 2009 and 2014 with the Rays, but he moved all over the field. That helped the creative organization find more ways to utilize platoons and achieve small advantages, a strategy that has since expanded, dovetailed with other trends, and turned into a rather normal occurrence around the game.

    Of course, few if any super-utility types have anything approaching Zobrist’s ability with the bat and glove. In his best season, 2009, Zobrist ran up a monster 152 wRC+ and 8.7 fWAR. That sort of ability made his early-career extension one of the game’s most valuable contracts for a stretch. He was a hotly pursued trade commodity in advance of his final of team control, when he moved to the Athletics and then on to the Royals for the K.C. World Series run. And Zobrist drew interest from many clubs in the ensuing winter, ultimately landing with the Cubs on a four-year deal — a remarkable pact given that he was heading into his age-35 season.

    It seems the Chicago stint will prove a finishing act for Zobrist. He struggled in 2017 and 2019, but was an All-Star for the third time in 2016. Zobrist not only helped the Cubbies reach the World Series, but took home the MVP award for his big role in helping the club end the curse. He was again a strong performer in 2018, easily justifying the club’s overall investment.

    If this is it for Zobrist, then MLBTR offers a tip of the cap for an excellent career.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Maikel Franco]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189575 2020-02-07T01:01:06Z 2020-02-07T00:51:59Z
  • The Royals didn’t waste time in their pursuit of Maikel Franco, as assistant GM Rene Francisco called Franco the day after the Phillies non-tendered the third baseman, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star writes.  Franco and the Royals agreed to a one-year, $2.95MM deal within a few weeks’ time of Francisco’s early expression of interest, and Franco has since been diligently working with Royals coaches to overhaul his approach at the plate.  Rather than the grounder-heavy results that defined so much of his stint in Philadelphia, Franco is putting a particular focus on getting the ball in the air.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Outright Heath Fillmyer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188764 2020-01-30T05:58:52Z 2020-01-30T05:58:52Z
  • The Royals announced that they’ve outrighted hurler Heath Fillmyer to Triple-A Omaha. The club designated Fillmyer Jan. 22 to clear a roster spot for the re-signed Alex Gordon. Fillmyer hasn’t been outrighted before, nor does he have the service time to elect free agency, so he’ll stay with the KC organization. Notably, Wednesday’s the two-year anniversary of the Royals acquiring Fillmyer from the Athletics in a trade that also included Ryan Buchter, Brandon Moss and Jesse Hahn. Fillmyer performed reasonably well in his first year as a Royal (4.26 ERA/4.75 FIP with 6.23 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 82 1/3 innings), but his numbers went south at the major league and Triple-A levels last season. The 25-year-old righty spent the majority of 2019 in Omaha, where he pitched to a 5.11 ERA/5.72 FIP and logged 9.3 K/9 against 4.74 BB/9 over 49 1/3 frames.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Astros’ GM Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188743 2020-01-30T03:19:22Z 2020-01-30T03:19:22Z The Astros have spent a large portion of January reeling from the fallout of their 2017 sign-stealing scandal – one that cost them championship-winning GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch. They’ve already replaced Hinch, having hired decorated veteran skipper Dusty Baker on Wednesday, but there’s no successor to Luhnow yet. However, the Astros continue to tack on candidates in their quest to replace him.

    Houston has interviewed Royals director of pro scouting/special assistant Gene Watson and Rays vice president of baseball operations James Click for its GM role, per reports from Jeff Passan of ESPN.com and Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Watson and Click join MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, Peter Woodfork, and former Giants GM Bobby Evans as known candidates for the Astros’ vacancy.

    It’s notable that Evans worked with Baker when the two were in San Francisco, but there’s no indication he or anyone else is the favorite at this point. It seems the Astros will continue to take their time in finding a new GM, as Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle explains. For now, owner Jim Crane and a four-executive team consisting of assistant GM Pete Putila, special assistant Kevin Goldstein, senior director of baseball strategy Bill Firkus and senior director of player evaluation Ehsan Bokhari are at the helm. That quartet played a part in Crane’s decision to hire Baker, per Rome, though it’s not clear whether anyone from it will emerge as a GM candidate for the club. It may not look good if the Astros do hire an in-house GM, considering that individual would have connections to the Luhnow-Hinch regime.

    As for the newest outside possibilities, Watson – a Texas native – is a two-time World Series champion (2003 Marlins, 2015 Royals) with a long scouting history who has worked in Kansas City in various capacities since 2006. The Yale-educated Click caught on with the Rays the same year Watson joined the Royals. Click has since worked his way toward the top of a Rays front office that already lost another noteworthy exec earlier this offseason in Chaim Bloom, who became Boston’s chief baseball officer.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals, Greg Holland Agree To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188609 2020-01-29T02:24:51Z 2020-01-29T02:24:28Z 8:24pm: Holland can earn $1.25MM upon making the Royals’ roster with another $1.125MM available via incentive pay, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

    7:53pm: The Royals have agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Greg Holland, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. He’ll be in Major League camp this spring and look to secure a spot in the team’s bullpen. The agreement marks a reunion between the two sides, as Holland was a 2007 draftee of the Royals and starred in their bullpen from 2011-15 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

    Holland’s return from Tommy John surgery in 2017 proved to be a success, as he anchored the bullpen for a Rockies club that secured an NL Wild Card playoff berth and paced the senior circuit in both games finished (58) and saves (41). Holland logged a 3.61 ERA and averaged 11 punchouts per nine innings that year, but he showed some worrying red flags late in the summer and struggled to find the type of lucrative deal he’d hoped in free agency.

    The right-hander eventually signed an Opening Day deal with the Cardinals (where current Royals skipper Mike Matheny was managing at the time), locking in a $14MM salary for the 2018 campaign. Holland sprinted through a minor league tuneup and was in the big leagues just nine days after signing, and the veteran closer never seemed to find his footing. He posted a disastrous 7.92 ERA in 25 innings as a Cardinal before being released in a summer bullpen shakeup … only to latch on with the Nationals and rattle off 21 1/3 innings of 0.82 ERA ball. A once-again resurgent Holland landed a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks last winter and posted a 4.54 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against an unpalatable 6.1 BB/9 before being released in August.

    Kansas City is clearly hoping that the reunion will yield dividends, although five full seasons have elapsed since the now-34-year-old Holland turned in a full, dominant season of relief work. That said, the Royals’ bullpen is hardly a collection of juggernaut relievers, either. Starter-turned-closer Ian Kennedy is again in line for ninth-inning duties, but the entire setup is unproven. Hard-throwing Scott Barlow showed flashes of brilliance in 2019 but lacked consistency. Right-hander Kevin McCarthy was a durable middle man but struggled to miss bats. Southpaw Tim Hill has had mixed results in his two big league seasons but is coming off a quality ’19 campaign.

    Other options in the K.C. ’pen include injury reclamation Jesse Hahn, waiver claim Randy Rosario, injury-prone former first rounder Kyle Zimmer and Rule 5 pick Stephen Woods. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of room for Holland (and others) to force his way into the mix if he can impress Royals decision-makers this spring. It’s quite arguable, in fact, that the Royals should’ve done more to address such an uncertain unit this winter, although much of the relief market has already been picked clean.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Could Add Starting Pitching]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188490 2020-01-28T06:24:24Z 2020-01-28T06:24:24Z Even though the Royals had one of the majors’ least effective rotations in 2019, the rebuilding club has done little to nothing to upgrade that area of its roster. That could change before the season, though. Royals general manager Dayton Moore revealed over the weekend that the team’s still considering free-agent starters, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes.

    Moore indicated he’s optimistic about the roster as a whole, but he admitted, “I’m not completely comfortable with our starting pitching depth,” in part because the Royals don’t want to rush some of their young arms to the majors. That said, Flanagan points to a few Royals starting prospects – Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar – who could push for a spot in the team’s rotation during camp.

    As things stand, the No. 5 role is the lone opening in KC’s starting staff. The Royals are otherwise committed to Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis and Mike Montgomery from one through four. Keller’s a successful Rule 5er who has enjoyed a pair of respectable seasons since the Royals dug him up. Duffy was once a high-quality starter in his own right, but while Keller has ascended, he has declined of late, hurting his trade value in the process. Junis struggled to keep runs off the board last year (5.24 ERA), but he did manage his second straight season with at least 175 innings. Montgomery didn’t have an especially productive season between the Royals and Cubs, meanwhile, but he was at least somewhat better in Kansas City than Chicago.

    Considering the Royals’ present options, there’s no doubt room for improvement. Whether they’ll make an earnest attempt to get better via free agency remains to be seen, but there does appear to be some interesting buy-low candidates on an ever-shrinking open market. Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar, Matt Harvey and Aaron Sanchez may be the most intriguing choices left, owing to their relative youth (only Harvey’s older than 30) and past success.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Re-Sign Alex Gordon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187917 2020-01-26T12:17:36Z 2020-01-26T12:17:22Z TODAY: Gordon has agreed to waive his 10-and-5 no-trade rights beginning on June 16, as per The Associated Press.  Talking with MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan and other reporters about the signing, GM Dayton Moore referred to the unusual provision as a way to “eliminate the red tape” and “take out the dynamics of going through the union” if a trade offer from a contender emerged.  Moore also implied that Gordon would still have an unofficial veto about any trade proposal, saying “anything we do with Alex, we would have a conversation with him first.  It’s really important to know that.  It’s always about the players….If you decide together at some point [that a trade] could benefit Alex, you want to have very easy conversations about things.”

    JANUARY 22, 5:33pm: Gordon’s contract pays him an extra $500K upon reaching 250 plate appearances, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. There’s also a $500K assignment bonus in the event that he’s traded, although as a player with 10-and-5 rights, Gordon can veto any proposed swap.

    9:15am: The Royals have struck a new deal with outfielder Alex Gordon, as first reported by MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter). The pact is said to guarantee him $4MM for the 2020 season. Righty Heath Fillmyer was designated for assignment to create roster space.

    Gordon’s second free agent return to Kansas City comes with less drama and a much lower cost than did his prior one. The veteran previously inked a four-year deal in January of 2016, all but ensuring he’d never wear another uniform.

    Entering the 2019-20 offseason, the only question was whether Gordon would decide to continue his career for an additional season. He and the K.C. organization decided upon at least one more.

    That aforementioned contract hasn’t worked out at all from an on-field perspective. Gordon, who’ll soon turn 36, has yet to turn in even an average offensive campaign under the new deal. He carries an ugly .237/.320/.366 batting line over the four-season span.

    On the other hand, Gordon has continued to turn in sterling defensive work in the outfield. And his bat did trend up in 2019, as he slashed .266/.345/.396 (96 wRC+) with 13 home runs.

    While there was never any chance the Royals would pick up a high-priced option over Gordon, it’s not hard to understand the rationale for this move. The money, roster spot, and playing time surely could’ve been appropriated elsewhere, but every team needs some veterans around and the Royals are as familiar and comfortable with Gordon as any club could be with any player.

    As for Fillmyer, the 25-year-old has thrown 104 2/3 MLB frames over the past two seasons, working to a 5.07 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. He turned in solid results while working his way through the farm, but has also struggled at the Triple-A level, where he owns a 5.48 ERA over 116 2/3 innings in 2018-19.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: White Sox, Madrigal, Kopech, Royals, Perez, Mondesi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188264 2020-01-25T14:22:25Z 2020-01-25T14:10:32Z SoxFest is a victory lap trap for the Chicago White Sox this year, but Rick Hahn won’t cop to it. “We haven’t won anything yet,” said the Sox’ GM, per The Athletic’s James Fegan. With the golden boy Cubs hanging a winter goose egg (Steven Souza notwithstanding), the White Sox’ rebuilding efforts are cusping at the right time to steal the spotlight from their crosstown rival. Hahn was promoted to GM late in October of 2012, the last time the Sox posted a winning record. After seven years at the helm of an extended rebuild, Hahn is getting an opportunity to show a different aspect of his GM profile as he oversees the Southsiders’ push for contention. The handling of Nick Madrigal and Michael Kopech, in particular, will be interesting litmus tests, writes Fegan. For Madrigal it’s a question of service time, an issue Hahn and company sidestepped with fellow youngster Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez by signing them to extensions. For Kopech, it’s a question of inning and pitch limits as he returns from injury. After an aggressive winter, look to Madrigal and Kopech to track their pedal-to-the-metal approach into the season. Let’s check in on a division rival…

    • A couple of injury updates for key players came out of Kansas City yesterday. Both Salvador Perez and Adalberto Mondesi are expected to be ready by opening day, per The Athletic’s Alec Lewis (twitter links). Perez hit an important benchmark yesterday, throwing down to second base for the first time since Tommy John surgery. Royals catchers were a bottom-10 unit in 2019 by measure of fWAR, wOBA, and wRC+. Power was one of Perez’s calling cards, which should help the unit if he can return without any lingering effects.
    • Mondesi, meanwhile, underwent shoulder surgery in the fall and expects to be ready. The 24-year-old is arguably the Royals’ best young player, despite a history of poor on-base skills. Speed (43 stolen bases), dynamism (20 doubles, 10 triples, 9 home runs), and lynchpin defensive skills up the middle (4 OAA, 10 DRS, 9.1 UZR) make Mondesi a key figure moving forward for the Royals. Any push for contention for the Royals will probably come coupled with another development step from Mondesi and/or the other Kansas City youngsters.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Free Agent Spending By Team: American League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188213 2020-01-25T01:22:17Z 2020-01-25T01:08:49Z As we covered earlier this week, almost all of the prominent free agents in this year’s class have already exited the board. Because of that, we’ll see more and more minor league signings and fewer and fewer major league deals in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season. This has been an aggressive offseason in terms of spending, though. To this point, which teams have handed out the most guaranteed money via the open market? We’ll examine both leagues, but let’s begin with the AL (reminder: This exercise excludes trades, club options, extensions, waiver claims and Rule 5 selections)…

    Yankees: $336.5MM on two players (Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner; top 50 MLBTR signings: two)

    Angels: $260.85MM on three players (Anthony Rendon, Julio Teheran and Jason Castro; top 50 signings: three)

    White Sox: $196.5MM on six players (Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Steve Cishek and Gio Gonzalez; top 50 signings: five)

    Twins: $151.8MM on eight players (Josh Donaldson, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Sergio Romo, Alex Avila, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard; top 50 signings: four)

    Blue Jays: $114.35MM on four players (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Shun Yamaguchi and Travis Shaw; top 50 signings: two)

    Rangers: $62.25MM on five players (Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Robinson Chirinos, Joely Rodriguez and Todd Frazier; top 50 signings: two)

    Tigers: $17.8MM on four players (C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Austin Romine and Ivan Nova; top 50 signings: one)

    Astros: $15.65MM on three players (Joe Smith, Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau; top 50 signings: zero)

    Rays: $12MM on one player (Yoshitomo Tsutsugo; top 50 signings: zero)

    Red Sox: $9.9MM on three players (Martin Perez, Jose Peraza and Kevin Plawecki; top 50 signings: zero)

    Athletics: $7.5MM on one player (Jake Diekman; top 50 signings: zero)

    Royals: $6.95MM on two players (Alex Gordon and Maikel Franco; top 50 signings: zero)

    Indians: $6.25MM on one player (Cesar Hernandez; top 50 signings: zero)

    Orioles: $3MM on one player (Jose Iglesias; top 50 signings: zero)

    Mariners: $2.95MM on two players (Kendall Graveman and Carl Edwards Jr.; top 50 signings: zero)

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On Last Season’s Worst Bullpens]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187992 2020-01-23T06:45:42Z 2020-01-23T06:45:16Z We’ve gone over how the five worst offenses and rotations of last season now look with the offseason nearing completion. We’ll do the same here with the quintet of bullpens that had the most difficulty preventing runs in 2019. Judging a bullpen just by ERA is an admittedly crude method, though each of the relief units in question here also posted subpar fielding-independent metrics. The bottom line is that they struggled. Let’s see how they stack up now…

    Baltimore Orioles (5.79 ERA/5.38 FIP; current depth chart)

    • No surprise to see the Orioles at the bottom, considering the rebuilding outfit’s myriad difficulties last season. The Orioles didn’t get particularly impressive production from any of their relievers. Even their No. 1 option, Mychal Givens, had trouble at times, though he did strike out better than 12 batters per nine. Givens is on track to open the season with the Orioles, but he could certainly be an in-season trade candidate. If they move him, it would further weaken a bullpen that hasn’t added anyone of note this offseason.

    Washington Nationals (5.68 ERA/4.94 FIP; current depth chart)

    • The Nationals proved last season that you can have a bottom-of-the-barrel bullpen from a statistical standpoint and still win the World Series. However, general manager Mike Rizzo’s in-season tinkering with the group proved effective, especially the acquisition of flamethrowing closer Daniel Hudson at the trade deadline. Hudson remains in the fold, having re-signed in free agency for two years and $11MM. In an even bigger move, the Nationals signed Will Harris – a former Astro whom they upended in the Fall Classic – to a three-year, $24MM pact. With those two and the returning Sean Doolittle, Washington appears to be in nice shape late in games, but it’ll need more from Hunter Strickland, Roenis Elias, Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey.

    Colorado Rockies (5.18 ERA/5.12 FIP; current depth chart)

    • There were few oft-used bright spots last season in Colorado’s bullpen, which didn’t get much from anyone but Scott Oberg and Carlos Estevez. The good news is that it’s hard to imagine Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee pitching much worse in 2020 than they did last season. And even if they do, they’re all entering the final guaranteed season of their onerous contracts, so they shouldn’t be the Rockies’ problem for much longer. In the meantime, the Rockies are going to need bounce-back efforts from them because they haven’t meaningfully addressed their late-game setup this offseason.

    Kansas City Royals (5.07 ERA/4.55 FIP; current depth chart)

    • Kansas City’s another team that has been quiet in the past few months, despite its less-than-stellar output a year ago. There are a couple bullpen trade candidates on hand in Ian Kennedy and Tim Hill, arguably the Royals’ two best relievers, but nothing has materialized on those fronts thus far. Kennedy was terrific last season in his first year as a reliever, though the fact that he’s due $16.5MM in 2020 has likely scared off interested teams.

    New York Mets (4.99 ERA/4.71 FIP; current depth chart)

    • The Mets were extremely busy in trying to repair their bullpen last offseason, when they traded for ex-Mariners star Edwin Diaz and signed Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson. The latter pitched well during an injury-shortened campaign, but Diaz and Familia fell off a cliff, which is why the Mets are on this list a year later. At least in Diaz’s case, though, it would be reasonable to expect a much better performance in 2020. He struck out over 15 batters per nine and maintained his 97 mph velocity last year, after all, and isn’t going to surrender home runs on 27 percent of fly balls again this season. Regardless of how he does, the Mets have added some notable support to their relief unit in the past several weeks. They signed former Yankee Dellin Betances, one of the elite relievers in recent memory (albeit one coming off an injury-ruined year), as well as the accomplished Brad Brach. They also have the newly signed Michael Wacha as a potential long relief option, not to mention holdovers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.
    George Miller <![CDATA[Royals, Alex Gordon “Getting Close” To Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187655 2020-01-20T00:03:28Z 2020-01-19T21:26:59Z The Royals are “getting close” to a one-year agreement with outfielder Alex Gordon, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. The financial details of said agreement are yet unknown. Nothing has been finalized yet, but Flanagan expects that an announcement might come in the next couple of days upon the completion of Gordon’s physical.

    It’s long been expected that Gordon and the Royals would work out a deal to keep the 35-year-old in the organization with which he’s spent his entire career; Gordon has made it clear that he would opt for retirement if a return to Kansas City wasn’t possible. However, it looks as if the franchise icon will stick around for at least one more year.

    Don’t expect Gordon’s earnings in 2020 to drive the Royals’ payroll through the roof. It’s clear he’s no longer the player he was when he was awarded with a contract that would’ve paid him $23MM this year had the Royals exercised his option. So, speculatively, $5MM or so seems like an agreeable price point for the two sides.

    Either way, Gordon showed some signs of revitalization at the plate in 2019, especially early in the season. Overall, he managed his best offensive season since 2015 while remaining a reliable defensive presence in his native left field. He collected his seventh career Gold Glove Award for his efforts, and the Royals will surely expect more of the same next year, even at his advanced age.

    Before confirmation that Gordon would be returning, the Royals were looking at a projected outfield trio of Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier (who will shift to right field with the signing of third baseman Maikel Franco), and Brett Phillips, the latter of whom is himself a defensive virtuoso but one who has mustered just a .620 OPS in his first three big league seasons.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Former Royals’ Owner David Glass Passes Away]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187508 2020-01-17T21:47:57Z 2020-01-17T21:47:04Z The Royals announced today that David Glass, who owned the franchise from 2000 to 2019, passed away last week at the age of 85.

    Mr. Glass loved this game, this team, and our city with all his heart,” GM Dayton Moore said in a statement. “He cared deeply for our fans and for the future of baseball. But above all, Mr. Glass placed an emphasis on putting family first which is what he stressed to our entire organization. We are forever grateful for his humble and supportive leadership, and we are beyond blessed that we were a part of his incredible life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his very special family.

    Glass hired Moore in 2006. That move paid dividends when the club won back-to-back AL pennants in 2014 and 2015. During the latter season, the club won its first World Series since 1985. Glass agreed to sell the franchise to current owner John Sherman last August, a move that was officially ratified in November.

    We at MLBTR join those around the game in expressing our condolences to Glass’ family and to the Royals’ organization for their loss.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Managers, Top Front Office Execs On Expiring Contracts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187036 2020-01-14T03:42:32Z 2020-01-14T03:42:32Z Monday was one of the most stunning days baseball has seen in recent memory. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, who oversaw several contending teams in Houston and led the club to a World Series championship, lost their jobs as a result of a sign-stealing scandal. Before accusations against the Astros arose several weeks ago, neither Luhnow nor Hinch looked likely to leave their posts for the foreseeable future. Now, though, the Astros are the lone team in baseball that doesn’t have a clear answer at either spot (though the Red Sox could join the Astros soon if the league drops the hammer on manager Alex Cora). But what about after the 2020 season? Which clubs could be in need then?

    With help from the ever-valuable Cot’s Baseball Contracts, let’s take a look at clubs whose GMs and/or managers are entering contract years. As a reminder, this list might not be complete or fully accurate. Some teams may have extended their lame-duck executives/skippers and not publicized those moves yet, for instance, while other individuals in those spots could have less job security than it appears.

    Angels: Entering the 2016 season, the Angels hired general manager Billy Eppler to helm a franchise led by all-world center fielder Mike Trout. As was the case then, Trout remains on a collision course with a Cooperstown plaque. The problem is that the Angels have continually failed to take advantage of his presence. Since Eppler came aboard, they haven’t even posted a .500 season. They’re also on their third manager (Mike Scioscia, whom Eppler inherited, then Brad Ausmus and now Joe Maddon) since their GM assumed the reins. Eppler has been rather aggressive this offseason as he works on a turnaround, though, having signed third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $235MM contract, picked up catcher Jason Castro and added starters Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy. The acquisition of a much-needed front-line rotation piece this winter has eluded Eppler, who will perhaps keep trying to land one before the season. Regardless, it appears to be put up-or-shut up time for Eppler. Should the Angels fail to make significant progress in the upcoming campaign, it seems likely they’ll have a new GM a year from now.

    Blue Jays: The partnership consisting of president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins has been going on since before 2016. The Blue Jays were then on the cusp of their second straight ALCS-bound season, but they’ve since launched a rebuild and endured three consecutive losing campaigns. Shapiro’s now going into the final season of his contract, though he and the organization are willing to discuss an extension, while Atkins’ status is a bit less clear. Atkins signed an extension last June, but it’s unknown whether it will go beyond the coming season. One thing’s for sure, however: This has been a busy offseason for Shapiro and Atkins, as the Jays have acquired four pitchers (Hyun-Jin Ryu, who cost the team an $80MM commitment, as well as Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi) and infielder Travis Shaw.

    Braves: The two-year extension Snitker inked in 2018 has a team option for 2021, in which he and the Braves will go for their third straight NL East title. Snitker, who took over as interim manager in 2016, endured a couple losing seasons before his recent run of success and has not been able to secure a playoff series win thus far. The overall results have been good, however, so it stands to reason the Braves will exercise Snitker’s option if they have another playoff-caliber season.

    Nationals: The extension the Nationals gave GM Mike Rizzo a couple years back reportedly lasts through 2020, while manager Dave Martinez has a club option for ’21. Back when the Nats re-upped Rizzo, they were known as a talented team that couldn’t break through in the fall. That finally happened in 2019, the year the franchise finally took home its first World Series. Thanks in part to that triumph, it would be a stunner to see the Nats allow Rizzo or Martinez to get away anytime soon.

    Royals: Like Rizzo, it doesn’t seem Moore’s in any danger of exiting his current organization. Moore, KC’s GM since 2006, has only overseen two playoff teams, but the Royals sure made those seasons count. They won the AL pennant in 2015 and then the World Series the next year. They’re now amid a rebuild and coming off two 100-loss seasons, and are likely in for another lean year. Still, new owner John Sherman is reportedly set to hand Moore an extension to keep him atop the franchise’s baseball hierarchy.

    Tigers: GM Al Avila seems to be safe, at least from a contractual standpoint, but the rebuilding Tigers could go in another direction in the dugout soon. Veteran skipper Ron Gardenhire’s not signed beyond then, and there doesn’t appear to be any hurry on the team’s part to change that. While Gardenhire enjoyed plenty of success with the division-rival Twins from 2002-14, he signed off for a difficult job in Detroit. The club, which hasn’t had much talent throughout Gardenhire’s reign, has gone 111-212 on his two-season watch. The Tigers have somewhat beefed up their roster this winter, though, and that should give Gardenhire a legit chance to help lead the team to a better output than its 47-win mark in 2019. Detroit has redone the right side of its infield by signing first baseman C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, improved at catcher by adding Austin Romine and landed innings-eater Ivan Nova for their rotation. Nothing splashy there, but Gardenhire’s probably happy to have those vets aboard after he had to guide such a sorry roster a season ago.

    Yankees: This is the last guaranteed year of Boone’s contract, though his deal does include a club option for 2021. At this rate, the Yankees will exercise it, as Boone has made an almost seamless transition from the broadcast booth to the dugout. He has two 100-win seasons in as many attempts, has helped the Yankees to an ALCS, and nearly won AL Manager of the Year honors during an injury-laden 2019 for the club. Expectations will be even higher this season, though, considering Boone now has ace Gerrit Cole at the front of his rotation.