Tag: royals

Meaningful Games

I’m not sure how much you know about the organizational structure of soccer. Most national soccer leagues are divided into a first division, second division, and usually a third and a fourth for smaller and perpetually less successful teams. Unlike most American Big League sports, many major clubs eventually hit the far end of a schedule that often ends by crowning the leading team without a single playoff match. For its lack of year-end drama and Cinderella stories, this most-wins-takes-all system has one strong upside:


Royals Outbid Mets for Jeff Francis

If you haven’t yet heard, the Kansas City Royals have signed lefthanded starter Jeff Francis to a one-year, $2M contract, plus incentives.

The deal was reportedly double what his former team, the Colorado Rockies, offered, and apparently more than the Mets offered. That is, assuming the Mets offered anything. But, we’ve heard many times from many sources for many months that the Mets were “interested” in Jeff Francis, so you would have to think that they made some kind of offer at some point. It would be awful to think that the Mets simply think about what players might help their club but never actually discuss terms with their agents.

So, we could safely assume that the Kansas City Royals outbid the Mets for Francis’ services. Is that depressing?

In all seriousness, if indeed the Mets made an offer to Francis, I’m surprised he chose to join the Royals. After posting a 5.00 ERA and looking lackluster in 2010, the crafty lefthander would seem to be looking at 2011 as an opportunity to increase his value for a big contract next winter. Generally speaking, crafty lefthanders don’t increase their value pitching in the Adulterated League — a baseball league that allows a Designated Pinch Hitter to bat for the pitcher. Usually, a soft-tossing lefty would try to avoid such a league, especially one that faces lineups such as those of the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers 18 times each (though, I guess it’s better than signing with the Orioles, and facing the AL East). One would think that someone pitching for his next payday would at minimum choose an NL team, and ideally go to one with a huge “pitchers’ park” such as San Diego or Flushing.

We mentioned Francis a few times before in the past few months, and my personal opinion was lukewarm. I don’t see him being anything better than a back-end starter at this point in his career, mainly because he wasn’t that tremendous before the shoulder surgery, and has lost some velocity since the surgery. So the fact that he signed with the Royals doesn’t bother me all that much; what bothers me is that it seems like Kansas City outbid the Mets, and it didn’t take much money to get Francis’ signature on a contract.


Brewers Get Greinke

According to multiple reports, the Brewers have obtained ace Zack Greinke from the Royals in a six-player trade that also will send shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to Milwaukee.

In return, the Brewers send to Kansas City young shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and minor league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

It looks like a good short-term deal for the Brew Crew, who are pushing hard for a playoff run in what could be


Phil Humber Claimed by Oakland Athletics

According to Bob Dutton’s tweet and MLB.com, the Oakland A’s have claimed former Mets prospect Phil Humber off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.

Ironically, Humber was placed on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster after the Royals signed another ex-Met — Jeff Francoeur.

Though Humber came nowhere near fulfilling the promise he showed as an ace pitcher for Rice, I’ve always had a soft spot for him. After leaving the Mets organization in the Johan Santana deal, Humber struggled in two AAA seasons in Twins’ organization — not a good thing for a team as deep in young pitching as Minnesota. He pitched most of last year for the Royals’ AAA team and his numbers don’t look great. But, he did compete in the PCL, which is considered a “hitters’ league”. Indeed, most teams in PCL averaged over 5 runs per game and .780 OPS (to put that in perspective, the average AL team scored a little less than 4 1/2 runs per game and posted a .730 OPS last year). The average PCL pitcher has a 4.78 ERA and Humber’s was 4.47 in 118 IP. Not great, but what stands out is his 1.5 BB/9 IP and 4.0 K/BB percentage.

Personally I haven’t seen him “in the flesh” since he left the Mets so can’t comment on his velocity, command, or anything else about his stuff. But the fact that the Royals were protecting him on their 40-man, combined with the Athletics jumping on him so quickly, suggests that there are people who believe that Humber might still have a chance to contribute in some capacity at the MLB level. And since he’s in the Adulterated League, I feel comfortable wishing him the best of luck.


Nate Robertson Released

After being DFA’d last week, LHP Nate Robertson has been outright released by the Florida Marlins.

Robertson had a 5.47 ERA and 1.5 WHIP through 100 IP this year for the Fish, and was designated for assignment after allowing 8 runs in 5 innings against the Rockies last Tuesday.

Considering the Mets’ lack of pitching depth, and need for a lefthander in particular, it may not be the worst idea to take a flyer on Robertson. He can’t be any worse than Oliver Perez.

Ah, but there’s the rub — Perez will not agree to be demoted, and is a permanent useless fixture on the roster. Oh well.

In related news, Gil Meche may need shoulder surgery, according to a tweet by Ed Price. Meche gave up 7 runs in 4 innings in a rehab assignment in the minors last night.

You may have read about the rumors that the Mets and Royals were talking trade, with Meche and Perez as names possibly mentioned. If indeed they were able to trade Ollie for Meche, it would be a rare case where I wouldn’t fault the Mets for obtaining an already-injured pitcher … such a move would actually be to their advantage by freeing up a roster spot.


Adam Bostick Suspended for PEDs

According to a press release put out by the Kansas City Royals, former Mets farmhand Adam Bostick has been suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Bostick was on the roster of the Royals’ AAA Omaha club.

The exact drug was not mentioned, and it’s quite possible he was using something other than steroids. Cheating is cheating, but I believe there are different levels. For example, taking something that significantly and semi-permanently changes strength, speed, and/or vision (like steroids and HGH) is different from taking something that offers a temporary enhancement (i.e., amphetamines). That said, it would be nice to know if the drug were made public — it’s not necessarily fair that someone who took greenies to stay awake after a long bus ride gets lumped into the same category as a guy who did a d-bol cycle that created the strength needed to become a homerun hitter.

Hat tip to isuzudude for the story.


Royals Sign Arguelles

MLB.com is reporting that the Royals have signed 19-year-old righthanded pitcher Noel Arguelles to a five-year, $7M Major League contract.

Despite his young age, the Cuban defector has extensive international experience and is highly touted as.

According to Royals GM Dayton Moore:

“He’s 6-4, 225 and very athletic, very competitive,” Moore said. “He’s got an above-average fastball and changeup, a curveball and slider. He’s certainly a top pick if he was in the Draft this year.”

“We feel he’ll be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher at some point in his career,” Moore said.

It didn’t appear that the Mets were ever a major player in signing Arguelles, which is too bad considering the final price tag. The dollars seem relatively cheap for a young pitcher with his skill set, and the only downside is that KC will have to carry him on their 40-man roster regardless of whether he’s ready for the bigs (considering the Mets have wasted 40-man spots on people like Robinson Cancel in the past, that wouldn’t have been a major issue). Though, New York may not have been the best place for Arguelles to develop. The spotlight would be over him from his first pitch in A ball, and the pressure to promote him would have been incessant — similar to when Mike Pelfrey was drafted. With Kansas City Arguelles will have the time to develop at his pace, in a relaxed atmosphere.