Tag Archive | "Northwest Arkansas"

Here Comes Duffy

The Kansas City Royals were poised to make it “Our Time” in 2012 before star pitcher Danny Duffy found his way to Tommy John surgery.  The 2013 Royals, who are now four games back of both the division and the wild card, have suddenly taken on a successful feel.  Danny Duffy is set to return.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

May 13, 2012 would be the most recent time that Danny Duffy, once believed to be the future ace of the ballclub, would take the mound as a Kansas City Royal.  Not long after that, it was determined that Duffy would require “Tommy John” surgery and his season plus most of the next one, would be lost.

Duffy would begin the long process of recovery.  Physical therapy would lead to soft tossing a ball.  Eventually, playing catch on level ground and long toss would assist the young lefty in building up the strength that he needed to get back on the mound.  On May 26, 2013, just over a year since his last pitch, he would throw his first one in a AA rehab assignment with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.  The initial outings were short but productive, seeing Duffy rack up 15 strikeouts in his first three appearances, spanning just 10 innings, while only walking four.  He would allow 12 hits but would limit his early opponents to five earned-runs.  He was on his way to AAA Omaha to continue his work with the Stormchasers.

Success was moderate but noticeable as he continued his walk back to the majors.  His second appearance in Omaha on June 10 would be his worst yet, yielding seven runs on seven hits and two walks without striking out a batter.  He would only last two-and-one-third of an inning and many started to wonder if he was rushing back.  His next start would only last three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, though he would strike out five this time around.  Concerns began to mount.

Concerns were laid to rest shortly thereafter as Duffy proved that those two outings would be the shortest of his season, never failing to reach five innings again through his next eight starts.  He would never walk more than three batters the rest of the season, strike out fewer than four hitters only one time, and never yield more than four runs, which he only did twice.  His season reached a pinnacle as he made one more rehab start at AA on July 17.  That day, Duffy would last five-and-one-third of an inning, striking out a season best 13 batters and walking only one.

Duffy would return to AAA to make two more starts, both impressive, and seemingly rounded out his minor league stint for 2013.

Duffy’s season thus far has given seen him surrender seven home runs, walk 27, strikeout 77, surrender 59 hits and allow opposing batters to hit .250 against him over 64 innings pitched.

Tomorrow, August 7, 2013 is opening day for Danny Duffy.  He will return to the mound at Kauffman Stadium for the first time in almost 15 months.  He will take the ball as the starter for the Royals in the middle of a playoff run and look to solidify the rotation.

Duffy is back.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

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Second half story lines for the Royals

The Royals needed the All-Star break to refresh and regroup after losing five straight games. Kansas City now has a record of 43-49 and sits eight games behind the first place Tigers. The second half of the season should offer up many story lines for the Royals. Here are a few worth highlighting:

Eric Hosmer Savior

Can Eric Hosmer continue his hot hitting?
After a very slow start, especially in the power department, Hosmer has turned around his season in a big way. Over the past month, Hosmer is swinging a hot bat. He is hitting .317 with 7 home runs, 16 RBI and 16 runs. The 7 home runs are significant because Hosmer didn’t hit his second homer until June 13. The Royals are currently a below average offensive team (24th in runs scored and 29th in home runs) and they will count on Hosmer to provide a resurgence in the second half.

Will Billy Butler rediscover his power stroke?
Butler had a breakout year in 2012, clubbing a career-high 29 homers and driving in 107 runs. The big DH has only 8 home runs and 49 RBI before the All-Star break and his batting average is down to .271. Butler has three seasons with a batting average over .300 and is a .297 lifetime hitter, so his average should see a boost in the second half. But the question is whether his power will return or if 2012 was just an anomaly. Before last season Butler was known as more of a doubles hitter than a home run masher. His previous high in home runs was 21 in 2009. As mentioned previously, the Royals are second to last overall in home runs. If they want to move up in this category, their clean up hitter will need to pick up his pace.

Will Danny Duffy join the starting rotation?
Duffy is currently rehabbing from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in June of 2012. On Wednesday, Duffy fanned 13 batters in 5.1 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Duffy is clearly talented enough to earn back a spot in the rotation, and there is an opportunity with Bruce Chen now in the fifth spot. The question is really whether Duffy will make a complete comeback from the surgery and become the promising pitcher he was before the operation.

Is Wade Davis better off in the bullpen?
It’s no secret that Davis has struggled as a starting pitcher this year. After coming over from Tampa Bay in the off-season, the Royals had high expectations for the right-hander. So far he has disappointed. His ERA is approaching 6.00 and he is 4-8 in the first half. Davis had a career year with Tampa Bay in his 2012 role as a reliever. He appeared in 54 games, all in relief, and pitched to a 2.43 ERA and posted a career-high 11.1 K/9. He clearly has the skills to be effective pitching out of the bullpen. If the Royals want to make the move, it could be a major shot in the arm for what is already a very good bullpen.

Will anyone emerge at second base?
The Royals just optioned Johnny Giavotella to Triple-A Omaha after what was basically a 10-game audition. Giavotella was not impressive in his limited time with the Royals, posting a line of .210/.289/.265. The choices now at second base include Elliot Johnson, Chris Getz and Miguel Tejada. Johnson has flashed good speed this season, with 12 stolen bases in the first half. He stole 18 last year in limited action with the Rays. His batting average is not good (.210), however, so he will need to improve in that regard. Getz isn’t hitting much better at .214 for the year. Tejada has only started seven games at second base this year, but is the best hitter of the three, sporting a .278 batting average. Three of his last six starts have come at second base though, so he might be settling in as the top option.

Will the group of Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and David Lough be enough in the outfield?
Alex Gordon is locked in to the job in left field, but the other two outfield spots are going to be split between Cain, Dyson and Lough. With Jeff Francoeur no longer on the roster, this outfield trio will be counted on in the second half. Cain is an intriguing source of speed with some power, while Dyson is an even better source of speed with virtually no power. Lough is more of a pure hitter with some speed and power. One, or even two, of these three will need to have a strong second half if the Royals want to be competitive this year.

Will the Royals be buyers or sellers?
The Royals should be active at the deadline one way or the other. If they can hold their ground or move up in the standings, they could become buyers. Because they were so aggressive in the off-season, it may be tough to sell assets at the break. There are plenty of players that could fetch good returns, but the Royals saw themselves as contenders after a busy off-season and might be reluctant to give up on the season. The schedule leading up to the July 31 trade deadline includes a three game set with the Tigers, four home games against the Orioles, three road games against the White Sox and two road games against the Twins. The first seven games will be tough and could be key in determining the Royals’ course of action. One option if they do become sellers would be to target a big return for current closer Greg Holland. Holland could return the Royals a package of top-tier prospects and they have depth in the back-end of the bullpen with Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera. If things go well after the break, the Royals could look for an upgrade at second base (there have been some Chase Utley rumors) or to add another arm for the starting rotation.

Can the Royals make a move in the AL Central?
The Royals have a big opportunity to quickly make up some ground in the division. They open the second half with a three games series with the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. If they want to contend in the Central, the Royals will have to catch up to the Indians as well, who currently sit 1.5 games behind the Tigers. In order to climb the standings over two very good teams, the Royals will need to make some savvy moves (whether buying or selling). They will also need many of the previously mentioned story lines to end up in their favor. It should be an exciting second half of the season and the Royals will play a role in deciding the outcome of the AL Central. Whether it is as a contender or as a spoiler remains to be determined.

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Texas League All Star Rosters Announced

TexasLeagueAllStarGame

Springdale, AR – Four Naturals have been selected to represent the host team at the 77th Annual Texas League All Star Game presented by Castrol on June 25th at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR.

Texas League President Tom Kayser announced the 48 Players elected to the June 25th exhibition game between the North and South divisions that recognize the tops stars in the league.

Orlando Calixte leads the list of Naturals selected. The Shortstop is the Royals #5 Prospect according to MLB.com. Fueled by a May to remember, he will represent the Naturals as a starter for the North Division. Other Naturals selected include Angel Franco and Mitch Canaham ,who will back-up the Infield positions and Catching position respectively. RHP Yordano Ventura was also voted to the team. After eleven starts for Northwest Arkansas to begin the season, the Royals promoted the right-hander to AAA-Omaha last week. Former Texas League Manager of the Year Brian Poldberg will lead his usual field staff of pitching coach Jim Brower, hitting coach Nelson Liriano, trainer Masa Koyanagi, and conditioning coach Nate Dine as the coaching representatives of the North Divison’s squad.

Corpus Christi’s phenom George Springer highlights the list of South Division All-Stars. The slugger is the Houston Astros’ #3 prospect according to MLB.com and currently leads the league in homeruns and RBI. The League’s winningest pitcher David Martinez (9-0), ERA leader Jake Buchanan (0.80 ERA), and Catcher Rene Garcia also join Springer as representatives from Corpus. RHP Mike Foltynewicz, the #5 Houston prospect according to Baseball America, and OF Domingo Santana (Baseball America’s #11 Astros Prospect) round out the selections from the first-place Hooks.

The eight Arkansas Travelers elected as All-Stars represent the most by any team. The Frisco Rough Riders are represented by seven players which count as the most selections on the South Division side. Frisco Manager Steve Buechele and his staff of pitching coach Jeff Andrews, hitting coach Jason Hart, athletic trainer Carlos Olivas, and strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon will lead the South Division All-Stars.

In total fifteen players who sit in their respective organization’s Top 30 Prospects lists, according to Baseball America, were chosen for the North-South Showdown. Players were selected through polling each division’s managers and broadcasters. A voter was not allowed to choose players from their own club.

All-Star Festivities in Northwest Arkansas include a Gala at Razorback Stadium on Monday June 24th with proceeeds going to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Tyson Foods Home Run Derby at 6pm on Tuesday June 25th, and a Post-Game All-Star Fireworks Spectacular.

Some tickets are still available for these events by visiting nwanaturals.com/tickets, visiting the Arvest Ballpark Ticket Window or Guest Services during a Naturals Game, or by calling the Naturals Front Office at 479-927-4900.

The complete list of 2013 Texas League All-Stars are listed below.

 2013 North Divison All-Star Team

Starters                               

POS PLAYER TEAM
C JETT BANDY ARK
1B C.J. CRON ARK
2B ANGELYS NINA TUL
SS ORLANDO CALIXTE NWA
3B RUBEN GOTAY SPR
OF KENT MATTHES TUL
OF MIKE O’NEILL SPR
OF KYLE PARKER TUL
DH KIEL ROLING TUL

Reserves

POS PLAYER TEAM
C MITCH CANHAM NWA
INF ANGEL FRANCO NWA
INF TAYLOR LINDSEY ARK
OF RANDAL GRICHUK ARK
OF THOMAS PHAM SPR

Pitchers

PLAYER TEAM
LAY BATISTA ARK
CHRISTIAN BERGMAN TUL
KEITH BUTLER SPR
DERYK HOOKER SPR
BRANDON HYNICK ARK
KEVIN JOHNSON ARK
TYLER MATZEK TUL
MIKE PIAZZA ARK
KEVIN THOMAS SPR
YORDANO VENTURA NWA

2013 South Divison All-Star Team

Starters                               

POS PLAYER TEAM
C RENE GARCIA CC
1B ANTHONY ALIOTTI MID
2B ODUBEL HERRERA FRI
SS DUSTY COLEMAN MID
3B JAKE BLACKWOOD SA
OF REYMOND FUENTES SA
OF RICO NOEL SA
OF GEORGE SPRINGER CC
DH BRETT NICHOLAS FRI

Reserves

POS PLAYER TEAM
C TOMAS TELIS FRI
INF GUILDER RODRIGUEZ FRI
INF JUEDY VALDEZ SA
OF JAKE GOEBBERT MID
OF DOMINGO SANTANA CC

Pitchers

PLAYER TEAM
MATT ANDRIESE SA
JAKE BUCHANAN CC
MIKE FOLTYNEWICZ CC
DAVID MARTINEZ CC
CARLOS PIMENTEL FRI
KEVIN QUACKENBUSH SA
NEIL RAMIREZ FRI
BEN ROWEN FRI
MURPHY SMITH MID
MATT STITES SA

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and proud host of the 77th Annual Texas League All Star Game presented by Castrol. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.

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Royals Extend 21 Invites To Spring Training

KCRoyalsPressRelease

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 9, 2013) — The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has invited 21 non-roster players to Major League Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz.  Among the invitations are nine pitchers, four catchers, four infielders and four outfielders.

Pitchers (9):

Blaine Boyer, 31, is 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA in 233 Major League relief appearances for the Braves (2005-09), Cardinals (2009), Diamondbacks (2009-10) and Mets (2011).  The 6-foot-3, 245-pound right-hander from Marietta, Ga., is a groundball specialist, allowing just 17 home runs in 234.0 innings.  He was signed as a minor league free agent on January 3, 2013.

22-year-old Sugar Ray Marimon pitched for both Wilmington (High A) and Northwest Arkansas (AA) in 2012.  He was a Carolina League All-Star, posting a 4-2 record with a 2.12 ERA in 14 games (nine starts) before his promotion to the Naturals.  Marimon, a 6-foot-1 right-hander from Cartagena, Colombia, was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on November 20, 2006.  He earned a win for Colombia over Nicaragua on November 16, 2012 in World Baseball Classic qualifying and also tossed 5.0 scoreless innings over two appearances for Licey in the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

Michael Mariot, 24, was the Northwest Arkansas (AA) Pitcher of the Year in 2012, recording a 6-3 record with a 3.40 ERA in 31 games, including 14 starts.  The University of Nebraska product is a 5-foot-11 right-hander from Southlake, Texas, who was selected by the Royals in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft.

34-year-old right-hander Brian Sanches returned to the Royals organization on a minor league contract on November 20, 2012 after nearly 10 years with other clubs.  Sanches was the Royals’ second-round selection in 1999.  He pitched in the Kansas City system until August 26, 2003 when he was traded to San Diego for outfielder Rondell White.  The 6-foot-1 Nederland, Texas native has made 195 career appearances, all but two in relief, in the Majors with the Phillies (2006-07, 2012), Nationals (2008) and Marlins (2009-11), recording a 13-7 record with a 3.75 ERA in 235.0 innings.

Atahualpa (at-ah-WALL-pa) Severino, 28, posted a 3-0 record with three saves and a 2.81 ERA in 46 relief stints for Syracuse, Washington’s Triple-A affiliate, in 2012.  The left-hander was signed to a minor league contract on November 14, 2012.  Born in Cotui, Dominican Republic, Severino saw his only Major League action in 2011 with the Nationals, recording a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA in six games.

Left-hander George Sherrill, 35, is 19-17 with 56 saves and a 3.77 ERA in 442 career Major League appearances, all in relief, for the Mariners (2004-07, 2012), Orioles (2008-09), Dodgers (2009-10) and Braves (2011).  The 2008 American League All-Star made just two appearances for Seattle in 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on May 4.  Born and raised in Tennessee, the current Utah resident has held left-handed batters to a .186 batting average in his Major League career. He was signed to a minor league deal on December 12, 2012.

Yordano Ventura, 21, was the 2012 Wilmington Pitcher of the Year, a Carolina League All-Star and tossed a scoreless inning as the starting pitcher for the World squad in the SiriusXM MLB Futures All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 8, 2012.  The 5-foot-11 resident of Samana, Dominican Republic, opened 2012 at Wilmington, posting a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts.  Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Royals on October 8, 2008, the right-hander also made six starts for Northwest Arkansas.

25-year-old Ryan Verdugo was a Pacific Coast League All-Star and member of the All-PCL Team in 2012.  The southpaw also made his Major League debut for the Royals in July in a start.  Verdugo was 12-4 at Omaha (AAA) with a 3.75 ERA in 27 games (24 starts).  He was acquired by the Royals from the San Francisco Giants on November 7, 2011.

Dan Wheeler, 35, is 25-43 with a 3.98 ERA in 589 outings over a 13-year Major League career for the Rays (1999-2001, 2007-10), Mets (2003-04), Astros (2004-07), Red Sox (2011) and Indians (2012).  Born in Rhode Island but now living in Florida, the right-hander split the 2012 campaign between the Cleveland Indians and Triple-A Columbus.  He signed a minor league contract with the Royals on December 16, 2012.

Catchers (4):

28-year-old Adam Moore was claimed on Outright Waivers from the Seattle Mariners on July 7, 2012 and appeared in four games with the Royals in September.  The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has appeared in the big leagues for parts of the last four seasons, playing 72 games.

Manuel Pina was re-signed by the Royals after appearing in 49 minor league contests for Surprise (R) and Northwest Arkansas (AA) in 2012, as well as one game with the big league club in September.  The 25-year-old from Venezuela missed the first three months of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee during Spring Training.

28-year-old Max Ramirez remains in the Kansas City system after initially signing as a minor league free agent on December 14, 2011.  The resident of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, has appeared in the Majors with the Texas Rangers in 2008 and 2010.  Ramirez spent all of 2012 with Omaha, batting .300 with 17 home runs and 77 RBI in 110 games.

Julio Rodriguez, 23, was acquired by the Royals with left-handed pitcher Antonio Cruz from the Detroit Tigers for infielder Wilson Betemit on July 20, 2011.  The Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic resident was a minor league All-Star in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and named the Dominican Tigers Player of the Year in 2008.  Rodriguez batted .234 in 67 games for Northwest Arkansas a season ago.

Infielders (4):

23-year-old Christian Colon was the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year and a Texas League All-Star in 2012.  The middle infielder saw his season end prematurely in mid-August due to a right eye injury after batting .412 in five games for Omaha.  Colon, the club’s first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010 out of Cal State-Fullerton, hit .289 with five home runs and 12 stolen bases in 73 games for Northwest Arkansas.  The right-handed batter is hitting .301 with 13 stolen bases in 39 games for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Anthony Seratelli, 29, hit .299 with 17 doubles, 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 115 games for Omaha in 2012.  The versatile switch-hitter also stole 15 bases.  The Royals purchased Seratelli from the Windy City ThunderBolts of the Frontier League on February 27, 2007.

38-year-old Miguel Tejada, signed as a minor league free agent on December 31, 2012, is a six-time All-Star and was the 2002 American League MVP after batting .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBI with Oakland.  The 15-year veteran is a career .285 hitter with 304 home runs, 1,282 RBI and 463 doubles in 2,118 games for the A’s (1997-2003), Orioles (2004-07, 2010), Astros (2008-09), Padres (2010) and Giants (2011).  Tejada played 36 games for Triple-A Norfolk in 2012 and is currently batting .284 with nine doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI in 34 games for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League.

Infielder Brandon Wood, 27, spent 2012 at Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies organization, batting .259 with 10 home runs and 64 RBI on 119 games.  The former top prospect in the Los Angeles Angels system has played in 272 Major League contests since his debut with the Angels as a 22-year-old in 2007.  He is a career .186 hitter with 18 home runs for the Angels (2007-11) and Pirates (2011).  Wood signed a minor league contract with the Royals on November 19, 2012.

Outfielders (4):

Endy Chavez, 34, an 11-year Major League veteran, signed a minor league deal with the Royals on December 26, 2012.  He made his debut in 2001 with Kansas City after the Royals selected him from the New York Mets organization in the 2000 Rule 5 Draft.  The 6-foot resident of Valencia, Venezuela, is a career .269 hitter with 118 doubles, 32 triples, 26 home runs, 229 RBI, 341 runs and 100 stolen bases for the Royals (2001), Expos (2002-04), Nationals (2005), Phillies (2005), Mets (2006-08), Mariners (2009), Rangers (2011) and Orioles (2012).  The left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder appeared in 64 regular season games with Baltimore last season, also playing in three Division Series games against the Yankees.  Chavez hit .276 with 15 walks in 30 games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League.

26-year-old Luis Durango hit .289 and stole an International League-leading 46 bases in 62 attempts for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2012, serving as the club’s primary centerfielder.  The 5-foot-9 switch-hitter from Panama has played 39 games in the Major Leagues for the San Diego Padres in 2009 and 2010, hitting .292 with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.  Durango, who signed a minor league deal on November 8, 2012, competed for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League, batting .286 with six steals and playing all three outfield positions.

Xavier Nady, 34, has played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Padres (2000, 2003-05), Mets (2006), Pirates (2006-08), Yankees (2008-09), Cubs (2010), Diamondbacks (2011), Nationals (2012) and Giants (2012).  He is a career .270 hitter with 101 home runs and 406 RBI in 939 games.  The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-handed hitter and thrower split 2012 between the Nationals and Giants organizations, playing 59 games at the Major League level.  Nady signed a minor league pact on December 18, 2012.

Willy Taveras, 31, is a seven-year Major League veteran who has compiled a .274 career average with 195 stolen bases for the Astros (2004-06), Rockies (2007-08), Reds (2009) and Nationals (2010).  The Dominican Republic resident led the National League with 68 stolen bases in 75 attempts for Colorado in 2008.  Taveras is currently batting .255 with nine stolen bases in 52 games for Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.

Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise on Monday, February 11.  Workouts for pitchers begin the following day, Tuesday, February 12.  The remainder of the squad will report on Thursday, February 14 and begin workouts for the 2012 campaign on Friday, February 15.

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I come to praise the Shields-Davis trade, not to bury it

If there’s a fan base pessimistic about everything, it’s the Kansas City Royals fan base. Not being in the playoffs since 1985 and not having a winning season since 2003 does that to you. And with all the other misfortunes the Royals experienced over the years, you can’t blame fans for being pessimistic.

Shields and Davis

So when the Royals traded top prospect Wil Myers, pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery and infielder Patrick Leonard for Tampa Rays starters James Shields and Wade Davis, a lot of Royals fans, bloggers and pundits panned the trade. They claimed the Royals gave up too many prospects and traded potential long-term success for short-term gain. They believed the trade smacked of desperation, a cynical move by General Manager Dayton Moore to try to keep his job.

But what were the Royals supposed to do? Look, the Rays weren’t about to give up David Price or Jeremy Hellickson for Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery and Leonard. And I doubt adding someone like Eric Hosmer and/or Billy Butler to the deal would change things. The Rays aren’t rebuilding and they have no reason to give up Price and Hellickson. The Rays had room to give up Shields and Davis and still keep their strong, young, starting rotation.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed the Royals gave up Odorizzi. But Odorizzi projects as a number three or four starter, like Davis. And Davis has four years of Major League experience and is a free agent until 2016. If Davis works out as a starter, he could be the key success to the trade. And if he doesn’t fare well as a starter, he can go to the bullpen, where he succeeded with the Rays in 2012.

Making Montgomery a part of the trade made sense. This is the guy some thought would be a part of the Royals 2012 rotation. Instead, Montgomery ended up in AA Northwest Arkansas and struggled there. It’s likely he wouldn’t be with the Royals anytime soon and a change of scenery might do him some good.

The Royals only get two years of Shields, but if he pitches as expected, the Royals have an ace they haven’t had since Zack Greinke. If you’re into statistics, Baseball Reference says Greinke is statistically similar to Shields, who’s going to make $9MM in 2013. Greinke will make $19MM in 2013.

Heck, the Royals will pay Ervin Santana $12MM in 2013 and he’s projected as the number two or three starter. Looking at it that way, Shields is a bargain, even if the Royals pick up Shield’s $12MM 2014 option. If the Royals do well in 2013 and 2014, perhaps Shields signs a multi-year deal with the team. It could happen.

And think about what the Royals didn’t have to give up. Players like Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and pitching prospects Kyle Zimmer and Yornado Ventura. The Major League team is still intact and when Duffy and Paulino return, they will be a part of the starting rotation.

But what about Jeff Francoeur? Yes, he had a terrible 2012 and it might be a stretch if he crawls back to being league average next year. But even if Myers stayed with the Royals, it’s likely he wouldn’t be on the Opening Day roster. Despite what some think, the Royals needed front line starting pitching over a right fielder like Myers. And if worse comes to worst, there’s always David Lough or Jarrod Dyson, right? And by the time Francoeur leaves, there’s a chance Bubba Starling will take his place.

Sure, the Royals could have gone the free agent route and got a Anibal Sanchez, Shaun Marcum or Ryan Dempster. But would the Royals sign them for $9MM a year like they got Shields? And honestly, Shields is a better pitcher than Sanchez, Marcum or Dempster. If anything, the Royals might have been better off trying to sign Sanchez, Marcum and Dempster over Santana or Guthrie.

It’s true losing prospects like Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery and Leonard hurts, but remember, they’re prospects, not proven Major League commodities. Of course, Shields could blow out his elbow and Davis might be the second coming of Luke Hochevar. But baseball is a game of risk and the Royals aren’t going to win by playing it safe and relying solely on their prospects.

Remember all the bold moves the Detroit Tigers took last year? They made it to the World Series. Sure, it’s a long shot the Royals will be in the World Series next year, especially with the Tigers in the division. But the Royals have to make bold moves if they want to succeed.

And don’t forget this trade brings the Royals payroll up to $80MM. Love him or hate him, David Glass is spending money and Dayton Moore is making an effort to improve the team.

It won’t take long to see if this trade works out for the Royals. If it blows up, Moore will be gone and the team could be wandering in the baseball wilderness for several more years. But if it succeeds, it could be the start of a new era of winning baseball for the Kansas City Royals.

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Royals Sign Three To Minor League Deals

KANSAS CITY, MO (November 9, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed three players to minor league contracts for the 2013 season.  The club plans to announce Major League Spring Training invitations at a later date.

Catcher Manuel Pina was re-signed by the Royals after appearing in 49 minor league contests for Surprise (R) and Northwest Arkansas (AA) in 2012, as well as one game with the big league club in September.  The 25-year-old from Venezuela missed the first three months of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee during Spring Training.

Ian Gac, 27, spent 2012 with Double-A Mississippi in the Atlanta system, batting .247 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 75 games.  The 6-foot-3, 240-pound first baseman/designated hitter was the Carolina League MVP in 2011 after hitting .279 with 33 home runs and 96 RBI in 140 games with Winston-Salem (AA).  The slugger has connected for 167 home runs in his professional career since being selected out of Edmonds-Woodway (Wash.) High by the Texas Rangers in 2003.

26-year-old outfielder Luis Durango hit .289 and stole an International League-leading 46 bases in 62 attempts for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2012, serving as the club’s primary centerfielder.  The 5-foot-9 switch-hitter from Panama has played 39 games in the Major Leagues for the San Diego Padres in 2009 and 2010, hitting .292 with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.  Durango is currently competing for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League, batting .324 with five steals and playing all three outfield positions.

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Royals Arizona Fall League roster

So I assumed you’ve already tuned out the playoffs, what with the Tigers, Yankees and Cardinals all advancing. Instead, let’s take a look at October baseball Kansas City Royals style, the Arizona Fall League. The Royals sent eight players to Arizona, here’s a little bit about each of them and what we can hope to see.

J.C. Sulbaran- Absolutely the most interesting prospect in Arizona. He came over in the Jonathan Broxton trade and struggled mightily after joining Northwest Arkansas but that was almost entirely due to control issues. At just 22 years old, there is plenty of time for Sulbaran to blossom into a back of the rotation starter. Sulbaran has yet to take the mound yet in Arizona. A great sign for the Royals would be if Sulbaran dominates the lesser competition in Arizona and keeps his walks down.

Edwin Carl- 24 year-old pitcher with impressive peripherals, but that’s what you’d expect from a 24 year old that’s yet to get to AA. Carl has struck out over 11 batters per nine innings in his minor league career with an outstanding 5.4-1 K/BB ratio. Carl gave up two hits including a home run in his fall league debut.

John Keck- 24 year-old left handed relief pitcher that finally dominated high-A ball this season, earning a promotion to AA. Keck does not stike a lot of people out, and he struggles with his control. It’s a major long shot that we ever see him in Kansas City. Keck has already given up 3 unearned runs on 5 hits in just 1.1 innings this fall.

Justin Marks- 24 year-old left handed starting pitcher that pitched well in AA this season. Marks came to the Royals as part of the David DeJesus trade. A great performance is Anrizona could lead to an assignment in Omaha in 2012, putting him in line to fill a gap once the third or fourth Tommy John injury is sustained. Marks threw three hitless innings in his Fall League debut, walking two and striking out two.

Alex McClure- 23 year-old shortstop that has shown no ability to hit at any level. Played half a season in Northwest Arkansas in 2012 and posted an OPS of .525, which is just slightly below his career OPS. Mcclure is 1/6 wuth an error in two fall games thus far.

Whit Merrifield- 23 year-old outfielder/second baseman that has shown limited promise in his time in the organization. This is likely his last chance to make an impression on the organization. Merrifield has started the fall 2/8 with two runs scored, he’s also committed an error.

Brian Fletcher- 23 (soon to be 24) year-old outfielder that progressed to AA mid-season. Fletcher has 31 home runs in 857 career minor league at bats, but he would have to have an impressive fall and outstanding 2013 to have any chance to figure in the Royals long term plans. Fletcher is 3/10 with an RBI in three games of Arizona Fall League action.

Orlando Calixte- 20 year-old SS from the Dominican Republic that committed 46 errors in 123 games in 2012. Calixte did have his best year at the plate in 2012, smacking 14 home runs and posting a respectable .759 OPS. At 20, and already with 60 games at High-A ball under his belt, Calixte could really benefit if the time in Arizone helps him with the glove. Calixte is 3/9 in three games, and he’s yet to commit an error. An outstaning sign for the Royals would be if Calixte could end the fall with the same number of errors he has now, more realistically he needs to improve drastically on his ratio of an error every three games.

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Royals call up Odorizzi, four other Storm Chasers after PCL Championship Series

After the Omaha Storm Chasers lost three of four games to the Reno Aces in the PCL Championship series, the Kansas City Royals called up starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, relievers Tommy Hottovy and Nate Adcock, catcher Adam Moore and infielder Irving Falu this week. Besides Odorizzi, the other players were on the 40-man roster. The Royals added Odorizzi to the roster to protect him from this winter’s Rule 5 draft.

Of the five, Odorizzi is the only one without Major League experience. Odorizzi, 22, the Royals top pitching prospect, is a leading contender for the Royals 2013 starting rotation. Between AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha, he pitched a combined 26 games, 25 of them starts. Odorizzi compiled a 15-5 record with a 3.03 ERA, 145.1 innings pitched with 8.4 SO/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

The Royals plan to have Odorizzi start this Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. He could make a bullpen appearance, since he has over five day’s rest. The Royals want to give Odorizzi a taste of the Majors before his chance to join the rotation in 2013.

Hottovy, 31, spent the 2012 season in the bullpen between Omaha and Kansas City. In 41 games with Omaha, Hottovy compiled a 2-2 record with a 2.52 ERA, 50 innings pitched with a 11 SO/9 and 2.9 BB/9. In a couple of brief stints with the Royals, Hottovy had a 4.05 ERA, 6.2 innings pitched with 8.1 SO/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in six games. He provides lefty bullpen depth.

Adcock, 24, shuttled between Omaha and Kansas City as a starter and reliever. In Omaha, Adcock appeared in 26 games, 25 as a starter. His record was 8-6 with a 5.53 ERA, 99.1 innings pitched and 5.4 SO/9 and 2.7 BB/9. In Kansas City, Adcock pitched eight games out of the bullpen and made two starts with a 0-3 record with a 2.67 ERA, 30.1 innings pitched with a 4.7 SO/9 and 3.6 BB/9. Adcock had pedestrian 2012 numbers and his call-up provides bullpen depth and a chance to make the club as a starter or reliever in 2013.

Moore, 28, makes his 2012 debut with the Royals after being acquired off waivers from the Seattle Mariners July 12. Moore’s last time in the Majors was from 2009-2011, where he played in 68 games with the Mariners. Moore split his 2012 Minor League season between AAA Tacoma and Omaha, appearing in 59 games with a .259/.326/.413 average, 33 RBI and 38 strikeouts and 19 walks. As a backup catcher providing the Royals with depth, Moore could make a start or two by the end of the season.

Longtime Royals farmhand Falu, 29, spent most of the 2012 season with Omaha and is back with Royals for the rest of the season. Falu appeared in 88 games with Omaha with a .329/.375/.463 average, 50 RBI and 41 strikeouts and 28 walks. In his previous time with the Royals, Falu played 15 games with a .321/.333/.434 average, five RBI with nine strikeouts and a walk. If Yost remembers Falu is on the team, he could play a few games this season.

With 14 games remaining and the Royals heading towards another losing season, Yost will give these players limited playing time in games against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, A.L. Central contenders. Yost wants his “best” players in those games. The five are likely to see playing time against the Cleveland Indians, fourth place in the A.L. Central.

Of the five, Odorizzi shows the most promise for 2013. The other four players will get opportunities as role players with the Royals, provide Minor League depth or continue their career with another team.

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Wil Myers Named Minor League Player Of The Year

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 4, 2012) – Baseball America announced today that Kansas City Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers has been named the publications’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year. Myers becomes the third Royals prospect to win the prestigious award since its inception in 1981, joining Tom Gordon in 1988 and Alex Gordon in 2006.

Myers, 21, opened the 2012 campaign at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and batted .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games before a promotion to Omaha in mid-May. For the Storm Chasers, who begin their quest to repeat as PCL champions tomorrow night in Omaha, Myers hit .304 (118-for-388) with 15 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs and 79 RBI in 99 regular season games. Overall, his 37 home runs were the second-most in minor league baseball, one shy of 26-year-old Darin Ruf who hit 38 for Reading (AA), while his 109 RBI ranked fourth overall.

The Royals’ third round selection in 2009 collected two hits and drove in three runs for the U.S. squad at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City on July 8 and then three days later was selected the “Star of Stars” for the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game after recording two hits, including a double, with an RBI and a run scored. Last week, he was named to the 12-member all Pacific Coast League squad and he is one of five finalists for USA Today Minor League Player of the Year.

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Royals name minor league players and pitchers of the year

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates.  The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be announced this offseason.

A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 14, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the Angels.

OMAHA (AAA)

Right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year.  The 22-year-old is 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for the playoff-bound Storm Chasers after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts with Northwest Arkansas (AA) to begin the campaign.  Odorizzi’s 15 combined victories are tied for the second-most in the minors.  He started for the U.S. squad in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, tossing an inning.  Odorizzi, who was acquired with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, was the 2011 Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.

Wil Myers was named the Omaha Player of the Year.  The 21-year-old, like Odorizzi, began the 2012 season with Northwest Arkansas.  After batting .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games, the Royals third-round selection from 2009 was promoted to Omaha where he is hitting .293 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 95 games.  The 2010 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year’s 36 combined home runs are the second-most in the minor leagues while his 105 RBI place him seventh.  An outfielder on the 12-member All-PCL team, Myers also competed in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, was named the “Star of Stars” at the Triple-A All-Star Game and is a finalist forUSA Today Minor League Player of the Year.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot, 23, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year.  The University of Nebraska alum, who was recently promoted to Omaha, went 6-3 with one save and a 3.40 ERA in 31 games, including 14 starts, for the Naturals.  Mariot was the club’s eighth-round pick in 2010.

23-year-old Christian Colon is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year.  The middle infielder saw his season end prematurely in mid-August due to a right eye injury after batting .412 in five games for Omaha.  Colon, the club’s first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010 out of Cal State-Fullerton, hit .289 with five home runs and 12 stolen bases in 73 games for Northwest Arkansas.  The right-handed batter drew 37 walks and struck out just 27 times in 85 combined contests in 2012.

WILMINGTON (A-ADVANCED)

Right-handed starter Yordano Ventura was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.  The 21-year-old, who started and tossed a scoreless inning for the World team in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, is currently pitching with Northwest Arkansas.  He opened the 2012 season with Wilmington, posting a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 98 in 76.1 innings.  The five-foot-11 Ventura was signed out of Samana, Dominican Republic, as a non-drafted free agent on October 8, 2008.

Whit Merrifield, 23, is the Wilmington Player of the Year.  Now at Northwest Arkansas, the former national champion from the University of South Carolina hit .258 with 20 doubles, eight homers, 59 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts in 101 games for the Blue Rocks.  Merrifield, who has played extensively in both the infield and outfield, was the Royals’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.

KANE COUNTY (A)

21-year-old Angel Baez was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-three right-hander is 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Cougars, striking out 83 in 76.2 innings.  Baez, a resident of Juan Baron, Dominican Republic, was acquired as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2008.

19-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was named the Kane County Player of the Year.  Bonifacio will make his third-consecutive trip to Kansas City after being named the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year and the 2011 Burlington Royals Player of the Year.  The younger brother of Marlins outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, he is batting .282 with 20 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 61 RBI and 54 runs scored in 105 games for the Cougars.  Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.

IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)

Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman, selected by Kansas City in the second round this June, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year.  Selman, 21, was recently named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year.  He is 5-3 with a league-leading 2.11 ERA in 12 games (11 starts), allowing just 41 hits in 55.1 innings, holding Pioneer League batters to a .202 average, best in the circuit.  The six-foot-three hurler from Austin, Texas, by way of Vanderbilt University, has struck out a league-best 84 and walked just 22.

Outfielder Ethan Chapman, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year.  Chapman, selected in the 30th round of the 2012 Draft out of Cal State San Bernardino, is batting .314 with eight triples, tied for third in the league, 52 runs scored, fifth in the league, and 22 stolen bases, tied for second in the league.

BURLINGTON-NC (ROOKIE)

18-year-old left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.  Rodgers, the team’s third-round selection in this year’s draft out of Parkview Baptist School in Louisiana, went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 starts for the B-Royals, allowing opponents to hit just .226 against him.  Rodgers made the start last night in the second game of Burlington’s first-round playoff series.

Outfielder Bubba Starling, 20, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2012.  The club’s first-round pick (fifth overall) in last year’s draft out of Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School batted .275 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and 35 runs scored in 53 regular season games.  The six-foot-five centerfielder also swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts.  Starling last night was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI as Burlington evened their best-of-three playoff series at a game apiece.

SURPRISE (ROOKIE)

Matt Tenuta, an 18-year-old left-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-four hurler from Apex High in North Carolina went 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 games (one start) with Surprise, surrendering just one home run in 39.1 innings.  Tenuta was selected in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft.

Outfielder Alexis Rivera has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year.  Rivera, 18, was sixth in the league batting .341 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 34 RBI and 35 runs scored in 48 games and was named to the Arizona League All-Star team.  The left-handed hitter originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the Royals’ 10th round pick 2012 out of Montverde Academy in Florida.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)

Right-handed pitcher Miguel Almonte is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The 19-year-old made 10 starts for the Dominican Royals, recording a 6-1 record with a 1.44 ERA, allowing just 34 hits and 8 walks with 46 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.  The six-foot-two resident of Santiago, Dominican Republic, who signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 20, 2010, is currently pitching for Burlington after a brief stint with the Surprise Royals in Arizona where he went 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six games (two starts).

Infielder Wander Franco, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on September 26, 2011, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year.  Franco, 17, hit .315 with 14 doubles, five triples, 38 RBI, 45 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 66 games.  The switch hitter currently resides in Bani, Dominican Republic.

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