Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, the Royals loaded up the equipment truck to head down to Surprise, Arizona. Spring Training is so close I can almost taste it. Figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t know what Spring Training would actually taste like. Dirt? Sunscreen? In-N-Out? This winter is destroying my mental stability, so it’s a good thing there’s just another week to go. Here are some links on the Royals and other baseball things.
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– Pine Tar Press’ Darin Watson talked with Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery about the trade that brought him to Kansas City. It wasn’t a move that grabbed a ton of headlines, but sending Van Snider to Cincinnati turned out to be enormous for the franchise, as Monty went on to set the team’s all-time saves record.
– At Sports on Earth, Anthony Castrovince ran through his ranking for the top 10 bullpens for 2015, and you’ll never guess who he placed in the top spot. That’s a lie. You know it’s the Royals. Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera are unmatched in today’s game, and the team should have even better talent for the middle innings this season, making the unit a big-time advantage for the Royals.
– David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot blog is working his way through his preseason team rankings, and he has the Royals pegged at number 17, predicting them to finish 80-82. I think the record is a bit low, but it’s in the range of expectations if a few things go poorly. Schoenfield loses me with his last line in the section, though: “Shame on you, David Glass.” Someone may want to inform the author that the Royals’ payroll will be roughly $112 million next season, by far the highest in team history, and right around the middle of the league. But, you know, narratives and such.
– MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan posted some thoughts on five Royals players who are looking to rebound from a rough year in 2014. Omar Infante, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, and Tim Collins all struggled on the field last year, while Luke Hochevar is hoping to bounce back from Tommy John surgery. The team doesn’t need all of them to be stars, but every little bit of improvement from them could go a long way in helping the Royals get back to the playoffs.
– Eno Sarris wrote an interesting piece on FOX Sports’ Just a Bit Outside blog on some claims that the umpires in Japan’s professional baseball league treat non-Japanese players differently than Japanese players, particularly in regards to the strike zone. While some of the numbers back up those assertions, the underlying cause remains uncertain because of how the game is taught there and here.