Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
We’re just a little over a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, which is kind of exciting. Unfortunately, that’s still a lot of days before baseball things start happening. News has been pretty slow around the league recently, with the holidays and all of the Hall of Fame hoopla, but hopefully things will start to pick back up soon. I need a team to make some kind of big move, so I can use the excess heat from all the pundits’ hot takes to keep me warm in this awful weather. Winter is the worst. Let’s just get to some links.
– The Royals announced on Monday that assistant general manager Dean Taylor was retiring, and that the organization was restructuring their baseball operations department. J.J. Picollo and Rene Francisco were promoted to vice president/assistant general manager, and both will handle various aspects of player development and scouting. Scott Sharp and Jin Wong also received promotions to assistant general manager positions.
– Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City says that if the Royals hope to repeat their recent success in 2015, they’ll need contributions from everyone, but especially from Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante, and Danny Duffy. All but Duffy struggled for much of the season last year, so if they do take a step forward, the Royals should be in great shape.
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– Pine Tar Press’ David Lesky also thinks Moose, Hosmer, and Perez need to improve, and the Royals could use quality seasons from Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain once again. The team doesn’t need everyone to be a superstar, but it will be difficult to get back to the playoffs if only 2 hitters are regularly producing.
– The Kansas City Star sent a couple of people to the Dominican Republic to do a feature on Yordano Ventura, and while there, Vahe Gregorian wrote about their trip to the Royals Academy. For developing pitchers, the organization uses dummies as stand-ins in the batter’s box, which is pretty interesting. Apparently during one of his first throwing sessions there several years ago, Ventura hit a dummy. In the head. Twice. And now, he’s one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game.
– As you’re likely aware, the Hall of Fame voting results were announced yesterday, and in July, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio will be enshrined in Cooperstown. All deserving candidates, to be sure. There were others deserving – Mike Piazza fell just shy of the 75% threshold – but 4 new inductees is the highest total in 40 years. I could say more about the voting process and the sanctimony from writers, but all the nonsense has worn me down, so I’ll just say congratulations to those 4 guys and move on with my day.