Mild panic and a touch of outrage spread amongst Royals fans when the team announced that they’d signed Jason Kendall to a minor league deal.
Kendall, who last played in 2010, has become a notorious figure in Royals catching history. In 490 plate appearances as a Royal, Kendall hit .256/.318/.297 with 129 total bases in 111 total hits. He spent nearly six weeks playing with a torn rotator cuff that required surgery and forced him out of action for all of 2011. He collected six million dollars for his efforts over both seasons and has since been seen on the Royals bench as a sort of instructor.
In this case, Kendall is being assigned to Double A Northwest Arkansas and prevailing thought will have him in a player/coach role while he works with young pitchers there like Mike Montgomery and Yordano Ventura. I wish I were the first to suggest it, but he’ll play a sort of Crash Davis role to a slew of Nuke Laloosh throwers.
I wonder who will end up with Susan Sarandon, Jason Kendall or Mike Montgomery
— Mark Schremmer (@MSchremmer) July 19, 2012
Royals win first Competitive Balance Lottery
The new collective bargaining agreement added a lottery to pool the ten smallest markets and ten lowest revenue teams to award picks after the first and second rounds to sort of level the draft playing field. The Royals landed a pick that will let them select a player after the first round of 30 picks and whatever compensation picks are awarded at the end of the season after free agent signings. They could pick anywhere from 31 to about 40. Essentially, it’s just like a compensation pick if they’d had a Type B free agent sign elsewhere as in the old CBA.
The pick has a lot of benefits. First, it’s a pick that appears out of nowhere more or less. They can take a top-40 amateur player with it. They get additional money added to their draft signing pool for the first ten rounds (which could be used to sign the extra pick but could also serve as a buffer to sign a bigger early pick if necessary since the draft pool covers all picks of the first ten rounds).
The wrinkle involved is that this is the first draft pick in baseball that can be traded. That adds value to a trade package if it comes about. Since this is new territory, it’s not clear what the value of the pick might be in a trade, as nobody’s set a precedent for it. It comes down to what a team is willing to pay. Royals Review took one look at the potential value and I’d liken its value to a slightly lesser return that you might get for an departing Type B free agent (which would net the team a player and a future pick).
That’s pretty rough.
That makes Luis Mendoza the Royals best starter this season. For the year, he has a 4.32 ERA, but since jumping back into the rotation in early June, he’s thrown 42.2 innings over seven starts for a 3.16 ERA and a 33/12 K/BB ratio. He’s thrown five quality starts over that stretch.
I’m still skeptical, but dang, maybe he’s figured some things out in the last two years after all.