KC Royals: 4 weekend questions, 4 weekend answers

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Some KC Royals questions and answers while wondering how many fans are mad at General Manager Dayton Moore for not calling up Bobby Witt Jr. earlier this week:

How did Adalberto Mondesi look in his first KC Royals game at third base?

Good question. Adalberto Mondesi playing the hot corner is part of the club’s well-chronicled plan to keep Nicky Lopez at shortstop and Whit Merrifield at second for the rest of the season. After returning from the Injured List Wednesday night against Cleveland and homering and singling in five at-bats as the club’s designated hitter, he took his first turn at third Friday night against the White Sox.

Although Chicago didn’t keep him busy or seriously challenge his glove—he dealt successfully with two ground balls and a pop fly—Mondesi looked smooth and comfortable at the position he hadn’t played professionally before Friday.

And playing third didn’t affect him at the plate. Mondesi’s two-RBI single gave him a 12-game season average of .356 and highlighted the four-run third inning that fueled Kansas City’s 7-2 victory.

Will Greg Holland and Wade Davis pitch much more for the KC Royals in 2021?

Probably not and probably, with Holland being the “probably not” component of this answer. In the second season of his return to Kansas City, he remains where he’s been since August 16—on the Injured List with right shoulder impingement; the potential for a return is uncertain. Don’t expect Holland, whose overall 2-5, 5.79 ERA record casts his KC future in considerable doubt, to see much, if any, action down the stretch. Shoulder impingement is nothing to trifle with and can be a precursor to rotator cuff tears, so Holland shouldn’t pitch again until he’s completely ready.

Davis, on the other hand, will continue to pitch. He was unimpressive (0-2, 8.06 in 22 games) until a right forearm strain forced him to the IL in late June, but he’s been better (0-1, 3.86 in 15 games) since returning in mid-July. Whether he (or Holland, for that matter) will be back next season is, of course, another matter.

Should the KC Royals ask veteran Ervin Santana to come back next year?

Ervin Santana, absent from the majors last year but still wanting to pitch, signed a minor league deal with Kansas City last December but hasn’t been overwhelming this season. In 32 appearances—30 of them in relief despite not coming out of the bullpen at all since 2009—he’s 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. Manager Mike Matheny hasn’t used him in any save situations and, as a two-game starter, he’s surrendered four runs in six innings.

Nevertheless, he often pitches better than his numbers suggest. And, per mlb.com’s Anne Rogers, Matheny thinks much of Santana’s relationship with KC’s young pitchers.

Will Santana’s value on and off the mound compel the Royals to offer him a deal for next season? Time will tell, but Matheny and Dayton Moore will likely give the idea serious consideration.

Will the White Sox want manager Tony La Russa back in the dugout in 2022?

This may not look like a typical KC Royals question, but it’s a timely one given Chicago’s present visit to Kauffman Stadium, and the answer may have some bearing on the Royals’ 2022 season.

Widespread preseason criticism of his hiring notwithstanding, Tony La Russa has done a pretty good job for a skipper who hadn’t managed since 2011 before Chicago, the first club he ever managed, coaxed him out of retirement after last season. Now in his 36th season managing a big league club, he has the White Sox headed for the American League Central Division title. (After Friday night’s loss to Kansas City and Cleveland’s loss to Boston, first place Chicago is 9.5 games ahead of the Indians).

La Russa reportedly signed a multi-year contract, and there’s no sign that at 76 (he’ll be 77 next month), he’s slowing down. So, don’t be surprised to see him back for at least a second season. And that won’t make things any easier for the Royals and the rest of the AL Central. He is, after all, a Hall of Fame manager who can still lead a ballclub.

dark. Next. This pitcher needs a good September

The Royals continue their three-game home series with Chicago tonight at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Daniel Lynch (4-3, 4.47) is slated to face Reynaldo Lopez (3-1, 1.54).