KC Royals Winter Meetings News: A quiet first night

Only a few Kansas City-related items made news Sunday evening.
Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Baseball's Winter Meetings got off to a predictably non-seismic start Sunday evening. Save for a single Hall of Fame selection, the news out of Nashville, this year's Meetings venue, wasn't big — when the night ended, Shohei Ohtani was still a free agent, Juan Soto was still a Padre, no huge free agent signings or trades had materialized, and not a peep was heard from the KC Royals.

But some of the Sunday's handful of newsworthy events had Royals connections.

First and foremost, and as Kings of Kauffman reported earlier, was Lou Piniella's unsuccessful Hall of Fame bid. An original Royal who accounted for several of the team's "firsts" in its inaugural 1969 season, Piniella was among seven former executives, managers, and umpires the Contemporary Baseball Era Non-Players Committee rejected in voting announced early Sunday evening.

Jim Leyland, a successful manager who won division titles, league pennants, and a World Series, and consistently beat the Royals during the eight seasons he skippered the Tigers, was the only nominee selected.

A once-promising KC Royals prospect changed teams again

Coming as no surprise was Kansas City's mid-November decision to trade pitcher Jackson Kowar to Atlanta. Kowar, part of the club's once-ballyhooed 2018 pitcher-packed draft class, entered the 2023 season surrounded by uncertainty and, after giving up 24 runs and walking 20 batters in 28 big league innings, became unequivocally expandable. The Royals dealt him to the Braves and received pitcher Kyle Wright in return.

Kowar's stay in Atlanta was, as it turns out, a short one. In a Sunday night deal, the Braves shipped him and fellow hurler Cole Phillips to Seattle for outfielder Jarred Kelenic, first baseman Evan White, and pitcher Marco Gonzalez.

Another former Kansas City pitcher was on the move Sunday

Taylor Hearn, acquired by the Royals in this year's trade deadline deal that sent Nicky Lopez to the Braves, and who elected free agency after he cleared waivers and the club tried to outright him to Triple-A Omaha, apparently has a new baseball home.

The Yakyu Cosmopolitan reported Sunday night that Hearn has signed to play for the Hiroshima Carp next season.

Hearn gave up seven runs in the 7.2 innings he pitched for the Royals following the Lopez deal.

Watch this space for more Royals-related Winter Meetings news.

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