After trading for Ervin Santana and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals are determined to add a frontline starting pitcher in order to give some legitimacy to their rotation. And they are willing to go to great lengths in order to accomplish their goal.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals have dangled top prospect outfielder Wil Myers in trade talks. In fact, pretty much anyone outside of Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar, who have team-friendly contracts, can be had for the right pitcher.
From veterans like designated hitter Billy Butler to left fielder Alex Gordon to youngsters like first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, the Royals aren’t limiting themselves in their search for a pitcher. Butler and Gordon come with track records of production – and contracts to match. Butler is owed $16 million over the next two years, with a $12.5 million club option in 2015. Gordon will make $31.5 million through ’15 and has a player option at $12.5 million for 2016.
Passan hears that the Royals have discussed deals with the Rays, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Athletics. While they “covet” Rays right-hander James Shields, they are hesitant to trade for him because he only has two years left on his contract and has logged the second-most regular season innings over the past two seasons.
Myers, who turns 22 next month, batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs, 109 RBI and a .987 OPS in 134 games this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. Baseball America named him as their minor league player of the year.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.