Dayton Moore defends himself over the Alex Gordon move

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Matthew tore Dayton Moore and the Royals a new one the other day following their optioning of Alex Gordon to Omaha.  Yesterday, Moore defended himself, claiming that he had no choice but to demote Gordon, because the Royals wanted to keep a thirteen-man pitching staff, and even if they didn’t, the only pitcher that has options left is Joakim Soria. As such, they’d have to designate one of their relievers for assignment in order to make room for Kyle Farnsworth.

Hey, if that’s his story, good for him, but (a) any team keeping a thirteen-man pitching staff is insane, even if that’s what everyone does these days; and (b) given that Soria is the only guy down there worth a diddly durn, I can’t see why they’d be so hesitant to DFA one of them.  John Bale is 35 years old and has an ERA north of 6.  Is keeping him around really more important than letting Alex Gordon get right against major league pitching? 

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.