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Royals Links: Marlon Byrd, Nelson Cruz, Wild Card, & More

Tonight is the night of the MLB All-Star Game, which of course means it’s the night that will have some random player for a non-contender making an error that costs his league homefield advantage for the World Series. Salvador Perez is starting, and will likely get at least a couple of plate appearances before being replaced, which unfortunately means he probably won’t be able to catch Greg Holland in the later innings. Alex Gordon‘s wrist injury has him sidelined, but he’s in Minneapolis in spirit. And also in body. Let’s get to some links.

– At Royals Review, Max Rieper has a solid article about the Royals’ offense with runners in scoring position. Many people in and around the organization believe the team’s main problem on offense is not doing enough damage with men in scoring position, but the numbers simply do not back up that assertion. The Royals are actually better in those situations, which causes one to think they should try and get more runners in scoring position, since they seem to excel in those spots. It’s at least worth a try.

Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs broke down the changes seen in Marlon Byrd‘s performance over the past two seasons, and notes that he appears to have made significant mechanical adjustments to hit more dingers. You’ve probably heard that Byrd could make sense as a trade target for the Royals, so this piece seems relevant. I wouldn’t totally love Byrd’s defense, but his bat would undoubtedly be a tremendous fit in the lineup, particularly against lefties, and he’s also no slouch against right-handed pitching.

– In this article from FOX Sports Kansas City’s Jeffrey Flanagan, Dayton Moore reveals why they passed on Nelson Cruz this winter, noting that by the time the slugger’s financial demands had dropped from their absurdly high level, the team’s lineup appeared to be set. I criticize a lot of Moore’s decisions, but this is one I cannot argue with.

Had the Royals signed Cruz, even for $8 million, I would have hated it. There was no reason to expect anything like 28 home runs from a guy who was an out-machine away from Arlington, and Aoki’s history didn’t suggest this kind of poor production. I understand baseball can be a results-based business, but most of the talk around Cruz is using nothing but hindsight.

– Over at Royals Authority, Craig Brown discusses how the addition of a second Wild Card team has made it more difficult for teams in the Royals’ position to make a move around the deadline. They’re good enough to be in the playoff conversation, but the odds don’t look strong enough to merit a big, splashy move. It’s a tough spot to be in, for sure, and a lot could happen to determine the team’s plans in the next two weeks.

– This last one has nothing to do with professional baseball, but you need to read it anyway. Our old friend Michael Engel wrote a story at Pine Tar Press about a recent experience from coaching a little league team. I’d give you a summary, but it wouldn’t do the story justice, so you are going to have to read it yourself. It’s a nice reminder that baseball can be about so much more than winning and losing. Seriously, people. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals

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