The KC Royals fans watched volatile starter Yordano Ventura blow up last night in KC’s 9-1 loss to Baltimore Tuesday night. According to Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan, general manager Dayton Moore has been quietly shopping the hot-headed Ventura.
A Kansas City Royals source responded to Passan’s story by indicating to MLB.com’s Royals beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan that Passan’s report was:
"“Complete and utter nonsense.”"
Passan, however, stood by his report with the following Tweet:
So, what’s going on here? I see three possibilities:
1. The KC Royals really are shopping Ventura. They’re sick of Ventura’s antics and want to get rid of him in a addition by subtraction move. They just don’t want to admit it.
2. The Kansas City Royals WERE shopping Ventura as part of a package to land a top shelf pitcher. However, last night’s antics have hurt his trade value and they know they’d be selling low.
3. Passan’s sources are wrong. Discussions about Ventura were nothing more than the KC Royals front office doing their due diligence in exploring possible moves.
I think no. 2 is the closest to the truth, with a sprinkling of no. 1. Passan is a reputable writer with many established contacts. Also note that the information is coming from other team executives that don’t really have a stake in the matter. It’s not that I think Dayton Moore, and the Kansas City Royals front office, are lying. This is a situation where they really can’t tell the truth.
[Update: venerable Fox Sports columnist Ken Rosenthal’s sources also confirmed that the KC Royals have been shopping Ventura]
Openly admitting they’re shopping Ventura can do nothing but hurt his trade value. Ventura is a guy with potential. He’s 25-years old and is signed through the 2019 season to a very favorable contract and has a plus plus fastball paired with an above average curve and change when he’s got his command.
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That kind of talent doesn’t grow on trees. Kansas City’s management team also needs to maintain it’s rep of having their players backs.
The problem is, I believe Ventura requires the shock of getting traded before he has any hope of harnessing his ability. Even in a clubhouse as strong as the Kansas City Royals, Ventura regularly starting fights with numerous other players could have poisoned the well with his teammates.
According to Passan, Machado isn’t the only guy that Ventura wants to plunk. Sources in the KC Royals clubhouse told him that Ventura was telling teammates that he planned to plunk Jose Bautista the next time he saw him.
Passan also noted that 6’3″ 240 pound Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez made no move to stop Machado from rushing the mound. If you look at the video, Machado hesitated for quite a while before deciding he needed to confront Ventura. Perez has PLENTY of time to intervene. Passan is right that it’s particularly telling that he chose not to do so.
Salvy’s inaction speaks volumes.
Royals announcers Ryan Lefebrve and Rex Hudler pointed out that Ventura was sitting by himself on the KC bench after the incident. That one shot certainly looked like his teammates where shunning him despite clearing the benches in his defense.
At this point, I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen with Yordano Ventura. The first indication we’ll see will be if the KC Royals deal Ventura before the trading deadline. Failing that, they could move him next winter.
Stay tuned, Kansas City Royals fans. I’m sure rumors will be flying for the next couple of days.