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Royals Notes


  • The Royals finally cleared room on their 40-man roster for free-agent signees Reggie Sanders and Joe Mays on Friday, designating pitchers Devon Lowery and Kyle Snyder for assignment. If the two clear waivers as is expected, the club will have ten days to trade, release, or -- most likely of all -- outright both to the minor leagues.

    Given the rumors that the team was considering removing potentially-useful players in Ruben Gotay, Donnie Murphy, and Chip Ambres, the news that two pitchers who’re unlikely to have a future in Kansas City were the unfortunate souls came as a bit of a relief. It seems like a lifetime’s passed since multiple clubs thought the world of Snyder when he entered the draft in 1999 and was chosen seventh overall by the Royals, but it’s only been six years. However, his career has been derailed by nagging injuries since he blew away the pitching-friendly Carolina League in 2002, just one year after undergoing a ligament replacement operation in his pitching elbow. Now 28, Snyder’s star has fallen, his once-great stuff is just a skeleton of what it was, and he’s probably destined to a middling career in middle relief, if that.

    Just 22, Lowery’s prospect status is higher than Snyder’s, but the early results haven’t indicated him as being a commodity the Royals don’t want to lose. He hasn’t shown much if any improvement as he’s moved up the organizational ranks, but his disastrous experience at Double-A Wichita probably shot down whatever confidence the organization had in him in the first place. Oh, and by disastrous, I do mean disastrous:



    IP H SO BB ERA
    8.1 21 5 14 24.84

    `

    I don’t know for sure what happened there, but a young pitcher who never had “hittability” problems in the past getting lit up for 23 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings is justifiable cause to have him undergo an MRI on that pitching arm.

    The Royals are still pretty starved for pitching depth, so exposing two pitchers to waivers tells me Allard Baird really doesn’t believe either guy can help his club now or in the future. He made the right call in this instance; no team is going to claim Snyder or Lowery and place them on their 40-man roster, but a multitude of GMs would’ve gladly found room for Gotay, Murphy, or Ambres. If the Royals sign another veteran pitcher (as is the rumor), the next casualty is likely going to be Aaron Guiel.


  • As a Royals fan who was less than one year old when my future favorite team won it all in 1985, I really enjoyed The Hardball Times' Steve Treder’s three-part series on the birth and growth of the Royals as a model organization. If you're interested in reading about how the Royals got started, check it out: Part One ... Part Two ... Part Three.


  • How about this for a crazy chain of events? Last Tuesday, thank-God-he’s-no-longer-a-Royal Jose Lima told El Caribe, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic, that he’d agreed to a one-year, $1.7 million contract with the San Diego Padres, claiming he turned down more money from Japanese teams to stay in Major League Baseball. This was news to Padres GM Kevin Towers, who told the Kansas City Star’s Jeff Passan that “Frankly, [signing Lima for $1.7 million] would make us look like buffoons.”

    Indeed. I know it doesn’t take much to make a lot of American dollars in the Japanese Leagues (D.J. Carrasco’s due to make nearly $3 million over the life of his new two-year deal), but there is no way Lima was/is receiving offers that total more than what a somewhat-reliable pitcher like Carrasco got. Of course, perhaps they’re offering him a lot of money to entertain the crowd with 450-foot homers, dancing, screaming, and an annual dose of Lima Time!.

    To make matters more interesting, Lima’s agent, Joe Klein, says he’s spoken with the Minnesota Twins about his client. As we speak, the other four American League Central clubs are praying a deal will be struck.


  • Speaking of 2004’s Royals Players Gone Wild, the Rockies signed Eli Marrero to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. I’m willing to eat some crow on that acquisition, because I really believed Marrero would hammer left-handed pitching, in turn being a nice platoon partner for Terrence Long. Things didn’t work out that way, of course, with Marrero "coincidentally" being given away for nothing in the midst of the Tony Pena-induced racial turmoil in the clubhouse, and Long being given 455 at-bats to poison the lineup.


  • Winter League stats really don’t mean very much, but Gotay and Esteban German are having very nice seasons for their respective teams. Through January 3, Gotay was hitting .266/.399/.469 for Carolina of the Puerto Rican League, while German was doing his usual tons-of-walks-but-no-power thing for Azucareros in the Dominican League, hitting .331/.443/.381 in the regular season. He also stole 30 bases.

    I’m glad to have the stability Mark Grudzielanek brings to second base both offensively and defensively, but I’m definitely not ready to give up on Gotay yet. Sure, it’s now possible he’s a Four-A tweener, but I think he has the potential to become a Ray Durham-type player, minus the speed. The Royals definitely don’t see him the same way, but I’m very sure he’s a 23-year-old player who just needs more time, for the organization to be patient, and for his manager to believe in him.

    If the Royals can’t find their long-term everyday second baseman with Gotay, German, and Murphy around, there may be less hope for a playoff-caliber club here than I think. Hey, it’s okay for one middle infielder to hit, right?


  • Finally, KRB’s dreams of the Royals drafting Justin Upton with the first overall pick in the June draft a year after taking Alex Gordon ended Friday when Upton signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $6.1 million. With Upton off the board, the Royals are probably looking very seriously at North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller and a guy with a great baseball name, Oregon State righty Dallas Buck.
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