Some observers have long speculated that the new international signing period would bring a talented young Cuban shortstop to the KC Royals. And when that important period opened Monday, it seems that's precisely what's happened.
Just hours into the period, MLB Pipeline reported that Kansas City has landed Yandel Ricardo, 17, a highly-touted infielder.
As is typically the case with such young players, little statistical data about Ricardo is available. What is known, though is that Pipeline ranks him as the 16th-best international prospect available.
Ricardo, 6-feet-1 and 180 pounds, switch hits, throws righthanded, and has some power. Assuming his development and progress match his potential, the Royals might be wise to work him at other positions if, as they should, they sign current shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to a lengthy contract extension.
How much of their $7,114,800 international signing allotment the Royals give Ricardo isn't yet known, but it's safe to assume he's now a multi-millionaire.
A former Kansas City fan favorite has a new baseball job
Raúl Ibańez served two tours of duty with the Royals during his good 19-year major league career; the first lasted from 2001 through 2003, and the second spanned only 33 games during the 2014 season. But it's that second stint that may be most remembered by close observers of the club.
It was during that 2014 campaign that Ibańez, who the club signed in late June after the Angels released him, delivered a clubhouse speech many credit with giving the Royals a new energy, one that helped spur them to their first American League pennant since 1985.
Although he didn't play in that year's playoffs, Ibańez was a supportive fixture in the Royals' dugout throughout postseason play. He retired after the season, then turned his baseball acumen to off-field work, serving as a broadcaster and an executive in both the Dodgers' and Major League Baseball's offices. He's also been known for an interest in managing.
Now, he's landed a new position: Ibańez is returning to the Dodgers, where he'll be the club's Senior Vice President of Baseball Development and Special Projects.
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