Real news is here! Granted, most of the “real news” is fluff pieces where Royals management indicates things like the fact that Luke Hochevar could win 18 games or that Jeff Francoeur is ready to put 2012 behind him and look forward (duh), but it’s still news about baseball and things are happening on a field. So that’s pretty awesome. This time next week, we’ll be getting ready for the first game of the spring and it’ll be broadcast on 610 AM in Kansas City, which is pretty fantastic. It’s a really interesting spring already from a fan perspective. I think we’re probably a fanbase with more angst than just about any other, so any little story sets us off. I’m trying hard to not overreact to words and even early spring actions, and rather just laugh when I hear things that I don’t think make much sense.
- In news that is probably the least shocking in the history of things, it looks like Chris Getz is the favorite for the second base job over Johnny Giavotella. If you’re surprised by that, then you’ve clearly only been a fan for a few days. Giavotella is somehow one of the most polarizing figures on the Royals 40 man roster. I think it stems from a lot of prospect people thinking really highly of him and then him not doing much in his brief time in the big leagues. What’s weird to me is that some people just blindly accept that Chris Getz is a better option. Aside from Chris Getz’s breakout 2012 (sarcasm intended), his career OPS+ was one point ahead of where Giavotella’s currently sits. Getz never had the minor league pedigree of Johnny Giavotella, and I think a lot of Gio’s defensive issues are overblown. He hasn’t impressed me one bit as a big leaguer, but when your other option is Chris Getz, there’s no harm in giving Giavotella two months at the big league level. It isn’t like he’s likely to do significantly worse than Getz would.
- Bob Davis is stepping down from his role as a Royals announcer, and that couldn’t be better news to me at least. Many revere Davis for his work with Kansas University announcing, and that’s fine, but as a baseball announcer, he was the one who I dreaded hearing more than anyone else. Even when I initially couldn’t stand Rex Hudler, I would take him over Bob Davis. I simply can’t get on board with an announcer who gets overly excited about base hits, overly depressed about opponent’s base hits and consistently confuses the listener by not really knowing where the ball is. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but he was miscast as a baseball announcer and I’m glad we won’t have to be confused by him anymore.
- Because I’ve seen a lot of questions about this popping up on Twitter, yes, Alcides Escobar is having Visa problems. No, it doesn’t mean he’ s lazy or unprepared. As Robert Ford mentioned, sometimes these issues can be months in the making as players can apply for them when the off-season begins and still not have them when it comes time for spring training. Escobar will be in camp soon and he’ll be just fine.
- If you haven’t had the chance to listen to our podcast with Kevin Seitzer, go do it now. I can wait. Okay, you back? Wonderful. His answer about Ned Yost was amazing to me because I was surprised he would be so candid. Of course, then I thought about how he was fired by the organization and kind of thrown under the bus in the process, so I guess it isn’t that weird that he was willing to say Ned Yost is NOT the man to lead the Royals to the promised land. The reason I bring this up was twofold. I figured it’d give me another excuse to link the podcast, but also because I agree with Kevin Seitzer and I wasn’t fired by the Royals. I’ve thought this for a long time, but I have an excuse to talk about it again with the season on the horizon. I still believe there was a reason Yost was fired with 12 games to go and his team in the driver’s seat to a wild card berth with the Brewers. That doesn’t happen to a good manager. We saw what he was capable of with some reason talent, so why should we expect anything different when the talent is questionable? I think the Royals have a real chance to make some noise over the next 7-10 years, but if Yost is around (and I don’t think he will be), they’ll always be outgunned in at least one position.
- On a positive note, I like what I’ve seen in pictures of most of the team. I know Billy Beane will tell you that we’re not trying to sell jeans, but the Royals, as a team, look ridiculously fit. Bob Fescoe tweeted a picture of Hosmer and someone else watching Butler hit and Hosmer looked more muscular than he did last season. I saw Mike Moustakas and he looks to be in even better shape than he did last year which helped him break out defensively. Ultimately, it’s all about the production, but I’d much rather see a team in shape than out of shape. Hopefully it can go a long way toward helping them throughout the long season.
- This is something we’ll get into as the season progresses, but if you see some serious improvement from some of the Royals prospects in A ball and AA, don’t be surprised if the Royals make a move toward the middle of the season to acquire reinforcements that can be used both in 2013 and beyond. Keith Law recently mentioned that he could see 10 or 11 Royals players making his top 100 prospects next season, which means there will be some expendable currency to bring in someone who could fill a void the Royals have long-term, such as right field. I’m not suggesting this will happen for sure, but I think watching some of the guys who were just on the periphery of the top 100 or 150 in baseball could tell us a lot about if the Royals are willing to trade some of them in order to bolster the roster for future runs.
I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the plethora of spring training stories that we’re beginning to see. The season is almost here. Get excited!
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