Evidently, I picked the wrong target last week in suggesting that the Royals fire general manager Dayton Moore.
If I wanted attention, I should have instead recommended the dismissal
of trainer Nick Swartz. That’s what Baseball Prospectus writer and huge
Royals fan Rany Jazayerli did recently. As a result, he’s been banned by the team:
“Just to be clear here, since I think everyone’s taking my words a
little too literally: I don’t think I’ve been “banned” in the sense
that they’re going to have security guards outside the stadium making
sure that I don’t buy a ticket. It does mean that the Royals have cut
off any access I may have from the team for my radio show, and – this
is critical – have intimated that any other radio show which has me on
as a guest faces the same penalty.”
Obviously, that last part is very nasty business if true. Regardless,
Jazayerli’s column was well reasoned and not at all inflammatory; that
the Royals are going after him is truly bizarre. Jazayerli’s piece,
which was published on his own blog and not Baseball Prospectus, was
going to be overlooked by most. Now it’ll be the talk of our little
corner of the Internet, and one can expect ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer and
SI’s Joe Posnanski to present their takes.
A lot of us Gen-Xers who grew up reading Bill James and later Neyer
and BP should have soft spots for the Royals. That we don’t, or at
least I don’t, is the result of an amazing run of incompetence still
going strong today. That they’ve turned on the one writer who has
expressed more Royals optimism on the Internet that anyone else over
the last 10 years or so is just the latest embarrassing act.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.