Saturday, December 20, 2008

Royals add righty

The Royals have signed right handed prospect Federico Castaneda from the Triple-A Mexican League. The 24-year old had a 4.28 ERA for Laguna while going 4-1. A Royals scout reported Castaneda's fastball was clocking at 92-94 MPH and his command was pretty good. The Royals are expected to assign Castaneda to AA Northwest Arkansas this season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hudson will be back

Despite pitching in just one game the past two years thanks to an arm injury, Luke Hudson will be back with the Royals in 2009 after signing a minor league conract with the team that includes an invitation to spring training. Hudson, 31, was one of the lone bright spots in the Royals rotation in 2006 when he went 7-6 with a 5.12 ERA before going on the DL late in the season. For his career, which included a stint as a starter with Cincinatti, Hudson is 17-18 with a 5.11 ERA.

Also, the Royals agreed to terms with four players on Wednesday with each including spring invites. The four are LHP's Heath Phillips and Lenny DiNardo, RHP Oscar Villareal and OF Tommy Murphy. Villareal has the most major league experience with a big league record of 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA in 258 appearances. He will likely make the big league bullpen this year.

Rangers talks, Nelson too

Word around the baseball world is that the Royals have had discussions, though it's not clear how thorough they've been, with the Texas Rangers involving a trade for five-time all-star Michael Young. A right handed hitter, Young, 32, has the ability to play both shortstop and second base at a high level. Oh yeah, he can hit too. He carries a .300 lifetime average in eight full major league seasons with 115 home runs and 69 stolen bases and a career .346 OBP. It's not clear who the Royals would have offered in the deal, though Jose Guillen would be a likely candidate.

Also on the radar: Joe Nelson. The Royals are in search of more right-handed relief and word is Nelson could get more than $1M from his former club. There are rumored to be at least 16 teams - including the relief-strapped Cardinals - inquiring on Nelson however, so the Royals could be near the bottom of his wish list.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heeere's JOHNNY!!!, again

Non-tendered on Friday, John Bale and the Royals just couldn't break off their relationship that way, so the left-hander signed a one-year contract this morning. Bale, who spend most of last season on the DL with not only an arm injury, but also a broken pitching hand will look to land a relief role with the club. Bale, as you may remember, broke his hand last season by punching things in frustration after a bad outing. That never works, by the way.

Would Royals deal pitcher for Escobar?

Let me start off by saying this is pure speculation on my part. But, hey, I don't do a lot of speculating on this blog so what's it gonna hurt to throw this one out there?

Actually, this is not something I just pulled out of my butt. It's a rather intriguing thought I ran across this morning when woke up and received news that the Atlanta Braves were getting close to an agreement to re-acquire all-star shortstop Rafael Furcal, who spend six years of his career in Hotlanta. The deal is apparently for three years, and I would imagine there's an option for a fourth year in there somewhere as well - since he's been demanding four years. By the way, the Royals appear out of the running for Furcal as the bidding war has sent the money through the roof.

According to sources, the Braves are planning to sign Furcal and then immediately attempt to swing Yunel Escobar for an "elite-level starting pitcher." Now, there are lots of "elite-level starting pitchers" around baseball at this time, but could that involve either Gil Meche or Zack Greinke of the Royals? Some will speculate this means the Braves will work something out for Jake Peavy. The problem is Escobar was ALREADY offered to the Padres in the Peavy deal. We know that. The problem with that trade came down to a disagreement over remaining prospects the Braves would have included in the deal. Believe me, they were WAAAAY off in that aspect.

The Royals have already been linked to the Braves in a Greinke-for-Francoeur deal which, I might add, was BOGUS. I do believe the two clubs casually discussed names, but I think it was more Greinke for Escobar. My belief is that Atlanta told the Royals "we'll keep you in mind, but we're going to see what comes of this Peavy deal first" and went on their way. Now that it appears Peavy won't be traded, the Braves may be making sense of the Royals again.

Greinke has shown flashes of becoming a front-line starter for years to come, and has yet to get a multi-year extention from Kansas City. To me, I've been a little leery that they will do so. They have had more pressing issues (shortstop, bullpen) to deal with since he's locked up through 2009. I still think they are holding out on an extention in case they need to trade him for a piece to the puzzle. It makes sense. It keeps his smallish contract appealing to other clubs who may be interested in a trade.

Another option, perhaps a more perfect situation, is that they trade Gil Meche - which would free up quite a bit of money off the books - and use the cap space to sign Greinke long-term. In this instance Kansas City would get its shortstop of the future, and get to keep a potential all-star in Greinke who, by the way, is much younger than Meche.

Of course, other things would hinge on this deal getting done. The first question is would the Braves even want Gil Meche? Indications point to yes. He's looked like a different pitcher since coming to Kansas City. He has also proved to be worth every penny of the $55M deal he signed as a free agent. Second, could the Braves afford Meche's contract? Uh, YES! Peavy makes much, much more. Finally, who would the Royals use to fill the void in the rotation that Meche would leave. My answer: Daniel Cabrera.

Cabrera, 28, was non-tendered by Baltimore on Friday and has been garnering interest from 12-14 teams since his release, according to his agents. He was linked to the Pirates on Monday, but one would have to assume the Royals have at least done their homework and checked in on him. The youngster actually reminds me some of Meche in his pre-Kansas City days.

A guy that has never reached his projected "ceiling", Cabrera still makes scouts salivate over what he could become with the right guy in his ear. At 6-foot-7 he has the size and pitchability that the Royals crave. He used to be a flamethrower, but for some reason last year he dropped a few MPH on his fastball which resulted in low strikeout numbers. That's another thing, he has never struck out a great deal of hitters. He averages about one every 2-3 innings, depending on the year.

I think Bob McClure is the guy who could turn him around, alas Meche. Obviously, he could be had for much less than $55M too. Last year he earned $4M. That's petty in todays market.

Look, Dayton Moore doesn't want to part with Meche OR Greinke. He's not going to trade one of those guys for just anyone. But for Yunel Escobar, I think he would. He should. The Royals are stocked with pitching at the minor league levels and Daniel Cortes isn't too far off. Granted, he isn't Gil Meche by any means, but he could be. I think this team could find ways to make due without him. Improving the offense would certainly help with that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jumpin' Joey! Cubs land former Royal

After months of speculation swirled that the Chicago Cubs were trying to trade for Mark Teahen, it appears the Cubbies have finally landed their Royal outfielder...just not Teahen. Instead, the club has come to terms on a contract with speedster Joey Gathright who was non-tendered by Kansas City on Friday.
Gathright certainly isn't the power bat the Cubs were once thought to be seeking to replace Kosuke Fukudome in RF, though he certainly swings from the left side - which they desperately wanted. Look for him to compete as the fourth outfielder or spend a lot of time at AAA Iowa next season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

German staying put

The Royals have signed utility man Esteban German to a one-year contract. German, who started off struggling at the plate last year, finished the season at a good clip and won over Trey Hillman with his effort. Look for him to be in the same role this season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Royals want Bale back

The Royals non-tendered left handed reliever John Bale at midnight last night along with newly re-acquired righty Jairo Cuervas and outfielder Joey Gathright. Infielder Jason Smith ACUTALLY was designated for assignment on Thursday morning.
The Royals are attempting to gauge Bale's interest to return to the team at a lesser salary. As for Gathright, he's already drawing interest from the Colorado Rockies (who non-tendered Willy Taveras) though the Royals may see what the possibilities are of re-signing him to a minor league deal. They should come to terms on a minor league deal with the injured Cuervas in the coming days.

Lugo traded

The Royals have finalized a deal to swap Rule V draftee Jose Lugo to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations. Sources indicate the Royals will receive approximately $75,000.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Busy day; Royals ink Waechter

Just minutes after the conclusion of the Rule V Draft the Royals announced the signing of right handed reliever Doug Waechter. He will likely compete for a bullpen job this spring and could provide depth at both the major league and AAA levels.

Waechter, a 6-foot-4, 215 pound journeyman, was last seen in a Marlins uniform last season when he appeared in 48 games as a reliever and had the best year of his major league career, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA with 46K's and 21BB in 63.1 innings. Previously a starter his entire career, last season saw a full time move to the 'pen for Waechter and the results were good.

He has spent parts of five seasons at the major league level with the Rays and Marlins. Last season he saw his most action at the big league level with 48 appearances. Before that he had not appeared in more than 29 games in one season. He did that with Tampa Bay in 2005 as a starter when he went 5-12 with a 5.62 ERA. For his career, Waechter has an 18-27 record with a 5.30 ERA in 108 games (54 of them as a starter).

Royals take lefty in Rule V Draft

The Rule V Draft came today and with it the Royals selected 6-foot-1, 175 pound lefty Jose Lugo from the Minnesota Twins organization.

Lugo is by all accounts a flamethrower. Last season at single A Fort Myers he struck out 76 batters and walked 33 in 69 innings. He also gives up plenty of hits as well. He allowed 68 in 2008, but remarkably surrendered just four home runs in that span. Opponents hit .254 against him.

This isn't the first time Lugo has been a Rule V draftee either. He was signed by Oakland as non-drafted free agent on Jan. 30, 2002 and was later selected by the Twins in the minor league phase of the Rule V Draft on Dec. 8, 2005.

In 2007, Lugo went 5-6 with two saves and a 4.32 ERA in 40 appearances, he also started seven times, for Class A Beloit. In Kansas City the Royals will attempt to keep him on the roster as a power lefty in the bullpen. Lugo must remain on the Major League roster (25 man roster) throughout the duration of next season or he will have to be offered back to the Twins for half of the draft cost.


The Royals also took several other players in the minor league portion of the draft. They also, yet again, lost another pitcher to the Houston Astros when they took minor leaguer Gilbert le la Vara in the major league portion of the draft. Here's the new additions to the organization.

AAA Phase
(First round)
--Luis Ortega, RHP (Washington Nationals)
(Second round)
--John Suomi, C (Philadelphia Phillies)
(Third round)
--Carlos Arias, RHP (Cleveland Indians)

Horacio Ramirez close to 1 year deal, possible option year

It seems that Dayton Moore's Atlanta connections are never-ending. I say that because it appears he's convinced former Braves southpaw and 2008 Kansas City Royal Horacio Ramirez to return to the team with a one year, $1.8MM deal with a possible option for an extra year. Ramirez, who was traded to the White Sox at the trade deadline last season, will reportedly receive an incentive based contract that will pay him a $500k bonus as a reliever or $1.1MM as a starter.

It will be interesting to see if he can recapture the ability to get batters out the way he did last season in Kansas City. I'm glad he's back. I didn't like the trade that sent him to ChiTown in the first place. McClure seemed to work wonders on this kid.

Royals take trip to the 'Farn'

The Royals have reportedly reached an agreement on a 2 year, $9.25MM contract with free agent fireballer Kyle Farnsworth. The aggressive righty has long been linked to the Royals throughout this offseason and has now apparently been added to fill the void left by the trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez.

Personally, I have mixed emotions on this one. I would like to see what kind of pitcher he can be under the tutelage of Bob McClure, but at the same time he's 32 years old and isn't known to be a coachable player. The guy can bring the heat, and he turns in some fantastic strikeout numbers each year for a reliever. Just think of Mike MacDougal with a little bit better control.

Oh yeah, and a lot more testosterone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008's Top 50 prospects released just released its 2009 Top 50 Prospects and the Royals have two players ranked in the top 30.
2007 1st rounder (second overall pick) Mike Moustakas is ranked No. 11 on the list while 2008 1st rounder (third overall) Eric Hosmer is No. 29.

You can check out their profiles on and even watch video clips of the duo at the plate. Moustakas, by the way, has one of the sweetest swings you'll ever see. I witnessed this guy play many games in high school against top competition, and he has always made scouts salivate at his potential. Hosmer, oh yeah, saw him too. The kid can rake.

Royals pushing hard to deal Guillen

According to sources, Jose Guillen's name has been getting thrown around quite a lot by the Royals at the baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas. Over the past week, in an attempt to move the slugger's hefty contract (and attitude), the team has been trying to put together potential trade partners that would allow them to then step up efforts to sign free agent SS Rafael Furcal.

The Royals have been named as on of four finalists for Furcal's services in 2009, though it is believed he already spurned a 3 year, $34.5MM deal from the Oakland Athletics. As you are already aware, the Royals gave Guillen a 3 year, $36MM deal before last season and would now LOVE to put him in another city - far, far away.

Also to report, the Royals seem to be inching ever so close to an agreement with 32 year old fireballer Kyle Farnsworth. You remember him I'm sure. He's the dude that Brian Urlacher'd Cincinatti Reds pitcher Paul Wilson several years ago when Wilson UNWITTINGLY charged the mound after being plunked by Farnsey.

He throws hard. BELIEVE ME. I witnessed him hit 101 MPH on the radar gun on three consecutive pitches at St. Louis in 2006. He definitely fits the profile Dayton Moore wants at the back end of the bullpen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Royals lose another arm

On Monday, Royals right hander Jeff Fulchino earned the distinction of "former Royals right hander" when he was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros. Fulchino, a 6-foot-5 righty, went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA last season with Kansas City.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Grud offered arbitration; says no thanks

Mark Grudzielanek was offered salary arbitration from the Royals this evening, but quickly shot down any hope he would return to the team next season.

Speaking from his California home Grud said he was "95 to 98 percent sure" he was going to decline the offer and sign elsewhere in hopes of reaching the World Series before he reaches retirement in the next few years. He also stressed his thanks to the Royals organization, spoke highly about the fans and what they meant to him and praised his soon-to-be former teammates.

I don't blame the man. Mark Grudzielanek is a true winner. He's someone you root for. He deserves a shot to play deep into the post season one more time before hanging up the spikes (well worn one's at that).

Plus, the Royals will now get a sandwich pick between the first and second round as soon as he signs with another team. Remember this: highly touted left hander Mike Montgomery was a sandwich first rounder for the Royals last season. They should get a pretty good player in return.

Any fan who dares to blame him for turning down the offer feel free to make a post and explain your case. I'd like to hear it.