Royals Have Spring in Their Step Entering '17

Royals Have Spring in Their Step Entering '17

Daily Clips

February 13, 2017


Royals have spring in their step entering '17

February 12, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Royals gather for early workouts in Surprise

February 12, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/


Pressing Questions: Kansas City Royals

February 12, 2017By Dalton Del Don/Yahoo! Sports

Rays reportedly nearing deal with Eovaldi

February 12, 2017By Cash Kruth/

February 13, 2017 •


Royals have spring in their step entering '17

February 12, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Before the window closes and several potential free agents hit the open market, expect these Royals to produce one more valiant effort at another World Series championship.

Most of the roster adjusting is complete, and now the Royals, after a disappointing 81-81 season in 2016, are poised to go all-in for '17.

"I think it's going to be a fun year," general manager Dayton Moore said. "It's going to be a different type of team, but that is the way it is year to year. We're excited about this group. It has experience and knows how to win."

And to many of the Royals, getting back to the World Series would be the ultimate manner in which to honor Yordano Ventura, who died tragically in a car accident in January.

"I know I can speak for myself and the other guys," left-hander Danny Duffy said, "and I believe we will approach each game like it's the last game we'll ever play. That's to honor him."

While disappointed over 2016, manager Ned Yost maintains that effort and desire were never the issue last season.

"Never once did I think this group of players didn't give everything they had last season," Yost said. "But now, with a full offseason, I think this group will come back healthy and rested, and ready to go after another World Series championship."

Pitchers/catchers report date: Monday

Full squad report date: Thursday

First Spring Training game: Feb. 25 vs. Rangers in Surprise

New faces: Outfielder Jorge Soler, outfielder/DH Brandon Moss, right-hander Jason Hammel, right-hander Nathan Karns.

Moore has said often this offseason that he expects the offense to score more often and produce more home runs. The Royals believe they have six or seven players who can hit 20 or more homers, and that includes new additions Soler and Moss. Soler could be the next star in the making, at least that's what the Royals believed when they traded closer Wade Davis to the Cubs to get him.

Moss vows to strike out less and to use all fields. The presence of Moss and Soler without question deepens the Royals' offensive lineup.

"We've got a group that has experience and up and down the order," Moore said, "I see potential for big offensive years."

Moore is banking that more offense could offset some question marks in the rotation and the bullpen. Hammel is a proven No. 3 or 4 starter who has racked up over 500 innings over the past three seasons. Hammel may not be spectacular, but after the loss of Ventura, he gives the rotation stability. Karns hasn't won the fifth spot yet, but the Royals are hoping he has a breakthrough season in 2017.

Interesting non-roster invites: Relievers Al Alburquerque, Brandon League, Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Withrow and Bobby Parnell

As is the Royals' way, Moore and his scouts have opened invitations to names from yesterday. And quite often, they have found some gems among the scrap heap (Ryan Madson, Joe Blanton, Chris Young, etc.). Chances are someone from this group will emerge in camp to make the 25-man roster. Sanchez had a disastrous first go-around with the Royals, but he was hitting 92-95 mph on the radar gun over the last year. And keep an eye on Withrow, now almost two years removed from Tommy John surgery -- he could be one of the surprises of camp.

Prospects to watch: Right-handers Kyle Zimmer and Josh Staumont, outfielders Hunter Dozier and Jorge Bonifacio, and outfielder/DH Peter O'Brien

Zimmer, a former first-round Draft pick with a long history of injuries, reports he is as pain-free as he has ever been after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last summer -- what a pleasant surprise that would be for the Royals if he makes an impression in camp. Staumont and his 101-mph fastball have a decent chance of grabbing a bullpen spot. The 25th spot on the roster remains wide open -- a big spring from O'Brien, who has the power Moore suddenly is coveting, could make things interesting.

Royals gather for early workouts in Surprise

February 12, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/

The signs of Spring Training were everywhere Sunday.

Left-hander Jason Vargas, trying to bounce back from Tommy John surgery in 2015, ran wind sprints off on a side field at the Royals' Spring Training complex.

Right fielder Jorge Soler, acquired in the offseason from the Cubs for closer Wade Davis, blasted home runs during a round of batting practice.

And manager Ned Yost, legs crossed, sat on the dugout bench at the George Brett Field observing.

Pitchers and catchers don't report until Monday, but Royals position players and pitchers have been getting early workouts in here for several days.

On a laid-back and cloudy morning in Surprise, about 25 or so Royals' big leaguers and Minor Leaguers worked out with the coaching staff.

"Player!" shouted outfielders coach and fan favorite Rusty Kuntz as Soler hauled down a long drive at the warning track.

Meanwhile, infield coach Mike Jirschele worked with Cheslor Cuthbert, among others, at second base as the Royals got a little head start to Spring Training.

Cuthbert will be one of the interesting stories of spring. He is out of options, and with Mike Moustakas returning at third base and Whit Merrifield and Christian Colon fighting for a spot at second base, as well as Brandon Moss set to log plenty of DH at-bats, Cuthbert seemingly is a man without a position.

But all that will be sorted out in weeks to come. Spring Training is almost here.


Pressing Questions: Kansas City Royals

February 12, 2017By Dalton Del Don/Yahoo! Sports

The Royals improbably went to back-to-back World Series from 2014-2015, winning the latter. They missed the playoffs last season, and they seem like a long shot to recapture their previous glory at 30/1 to win it all entering 2017, while Fangraphs projects them for a modest 77 wins. Kansas City has defied expectations before, but the Indians and Tigers look better on paper, so they have an uphill battle with plenty of things having to go their way to make the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at some pressing questions…

Q: How good is Danny Duffy?

He had a 3.51 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and struck out 188 batters over 179.2 innings last season. Duffy had a 12.9 SwStr% and is quickly developing into one of the best starters in major league baseball, as his 20.0 K-BB% ranked eighth best in MLB last season – a mark that ranked ahead of the previous three Cy Young winners in the AL. I’d treat Duffy as a top-20 fantasy starter and draft him aggressively.

Q: Is Eric Hosmer going to develop into a star?

Hosmer’s 25 homers and 104 RBI last season were both career highs, but it came with a .761 OPS and his lowest BA (.266) since 2012. Kauffman Stadium has decreased homers for LHB by 20 percent over the last three years, which is the second most in the AL over that span. Hosmer still has room to grow, and he’s affordable according to early ADP, but for those who expected a perennial All Star, Hosmer is apparently going to fall short.

Q: What’s Going On With Alex Gordon?

From 2011-2014, Gordon had the fourth-highest WAR among all outfielders in major league baseball. Of course, his strong defense was a big reason why, which didn’t exactly benefit fantasy owners like it did the Royals. Still, his OPS dropped from .809 in 2015 to .692 last season, and he’s mostly become an afterthought in fantasy circles. His ADP is 318, which makes him basically free, and this is a former No. 2 overall pick who’s 32 years old who still produced 25 homers/steals last season in 445 at-bats in arguably the worst campaign of his career. Gordon isn’t a bad late round flier to grab at this point.

Q: Who are some sleepers to target?

Jorge Soler clearly hasn’t lived up to expectations so far in his career, but there remains plenty of upside for the 24-year-old who’s going to be given every day at bats in 2017. The potential for a major breakout is here…Raul Mondesi offers nice SB upside for a dirt cheap option at middle infield…Fewer walks would be nice, but Matt Strahm struck out 30 batters over 22.0 innings during his MLB debut last season and will almost certainly be joining Kansas City’s rotation in 2017. The lefty is definitely a deep sleeper to target, even in mixed leagues.

Royals Projected Lineup

SS Alcides Escobar

3B Mike Moustakas

CF Lorenzo Cain

1B Eric Hosmer

C Salvador Perez

LF Alex Gordon

RF Jorge Soler

DH Brandon Moss

2B Whit Merrifield

Royals Projected Rotation

SP Danny Duffy

SP Ian Kennedy

SP Jason Hammel

SP Jason Vargas

SP Nathan Karns

CL Kelvin Herrera

RP Joakim Soria

Rays reportedly nearing deal with Eovaldi

February 12, 2017By Cash Kruth/

The Rays are nearing a Major League deal with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

The club has not confirmed the report.

Eovaldi, who turns 27 on Monday, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2017 season. The contract includes an option for 2018, according to the report.

Eovaldi was 9-8 with a 4.76 ERA in 24 games (21 starts) for the Yankees last season. He is 38-46 with a 4.21 ERA in 134 games (127 starts) over six seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins and Yankees.

February 13, 2017 •

Tampa Bay Rays / Nathan Eovaldi / Signed as Free Agent, ( 2017; Opt 2018)(one-year contract)