Tag: Jason Vargas

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins

VIDEO: Kennys Vargas hit a laser beam of a home run today


In a battle of the Vargases (Vargi?) earlier today, Kennys Vargas of the Twins was the undisputed winner against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. Check out this laser beam of a home run. Don’t blink or you might miss it:

That one got out of there in a hurry. In fact, the exit velocity on the ball was 113 mph. Andrew Ettel, coordinator of baseball research for the Twins, notes that it was one of the three hardest tracked home runs in MLB so far this season. I believe it.

Vargas, a 24-year-old switch-hitter, batted .274/.316/.456 with nine home runs and 38 RBI in 53 games as a rookie last season. Today’s home run was his first of 2015.

Yordano Ventura named Royals’ Opening Day starter

yordano ventura getty

Royals manager Ned Yost told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star on Wednesday evening that 23-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura will start for the club on Opening Day, April 10 against the White Sox at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura will be followed in the Royals’ starting rotation by Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie — in that order.

Yost said the way Ventura pitched in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series gave the entire team confidence that he is ready to be the leader of a pitching staff that lost James Shields this winter to free agency.

Ventura, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, put up a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings last year.

Royals sign right-hander Chris Young to a one-year contract

chris young getty

The Royals added some rotation depth Saturday by signing right-hander Chris Young to a one-year contract. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Young will receive a $675,000 base salary with $5.325 in possible incentives. Pretty interesting deal.

Young didn’t pitch at all in the majors in 2013 and required thoracic outlet surgery, but he posted a 3.65 ERA and 108/60 K/BB ratio over 165 innings with the Mariners last season and won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Still, the market for him was very quiet this winter. It’s understandable, as Young has a long injury history, gives up a ton of home runs and fly balls, and his peripherals weren’t very impressive last season.

It’s hard to see where Young fits with the Royals right now, as they already project to have Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy, and Jeremy Guthrie lined up to begin the year in the starting rotation. He offers insurance at the very least. And the Royals, with their outstanding outfield defense, at least fit his fly ball tendencies.

In order to make room for Young on the 40-man roster, the Royals transferred right-hander Kris Medlen on the 60-day disabled list as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Royals sign Edinson Volquez for two years, $20 million

edinson volquez getty

From CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman comes word that the Royals have agreed to terms on a two-year, $20 million free agent contract with Edinson Volquez.

Volquez was one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball in 2013, posting a 5.71 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 170 1/3 innings between the Padres and Dodgers. But he bounced back in 2014 for the Pirates, finishing with a 3.04 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 192 2/3 innings.

Kauffman Stadium is pitcher-friendly and the Royals play excellent defense, so it’s a nice fit for Volquez. The 31-year-old righty joins a Kansas City rotation that already includes Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Danny Duffy.

What’s in store for the Royals this winter?

Dayton Moore, Ned Yost

When the Royals traded Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis, they were settling themselves up to win in 2013 and 2014. Now, Shields is a free agent, as are Billy Butler and Norichika Aoki, and the Royals have to decide just how much they’re willing to spend to keep their World Series team relatively intact.

The Royals’ payroll this year was $92 million, and a bunch of the incumbents are due raises. Here most of what’s coming off the books:

Shields: $12 million
Butler: $8 million ($1 million buyout of $12.5 million club option)
Luke Hochevar: $5.21 million
Aoki: $2.5 million
Josh Willingham: $2 million ($7 million salary was acquired in August)
Aaron Crow: $1.475 million (arbitration eligible, likely traded or non-tendered)
Jason Frasor: $800,000 ($1.75 million salary was acquired in July)

And what’s staying on:

Alex Gordon: $10 million to $12.5 million
Jeremy Guthrie: $8 million to $9 million
Jason Vargas: $7 million to $8.5 million
Greg Holland: $4.65 million to $8 million – arbitration
Omar Infante: $5 million to $7.5 million
Davis: $4.8 million to $7 million (club option)
Eric Hosmer: $3.6 million to $5.5 million – arbitration
Lorenzo Cain: $550,000 to $3.5 million – arbitration
Alcides Escobar: $3 million to $3 million
Mike Moustakas: $550,000 to $2.5 million – arbitration
Danny Duffy: $530,000 to $2.3 million – arbitration
Salvador Perez: $1.5 million to $1.75 million
Tim Collins: $1.3625 million to $1.6 million – arbitration
Kelvin Herrera: $520,000 to $1.5 million – arbitration
Jarrod Dyson: $530,000 to $1.1 million – arbitration

That’s $51.6 million going up to approximately $74.75 million among the returnees, plus the minimum salaries of guys like Yordano Ventura and Brandon Finnegan. If you take those 15 guys and add in 10 minimum salaries, you’re already at $80 million.

Fortunately, that’s a pretty well rounded group of returnees. It includes four-fifths of a rotation, the league’s best bullpen and seven members of the lineup. I am assuming that the Royals keep the bullpen intact. It’s not ideal for a small-market team to pay $15 million to two relievers in Holland and Davis, but those guys aren’t typical relievers. If the Royals could trade Holland for a quality young starter or right fielder, that could be worth doing. But they shouldn’t simply dump either over payroll concerns.

With that group, the Royals would enter next season with an extreme lack of depth, but they could conceivably just sign a cheap DH and compete in the AL Central.

Ideally, though, the Royals would push their payroll up to around $100 million-$110 million and either re-sign Shields, which should take $18 million-$20 million per year, or bring in a quality replacement. Let Butler test the market, and when he finds it’s not so much to his liking, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Royals are able to re-sign him for $6 million-$7 million. My guess is that Aoki is in line for a two-year deal in the $15 million range, which is probably too steep for Kansas City. The Royals could save money by signing Chris Denorfia to share time with Dyson in the outfield.

Will it happen? The World Series run makes it a whole lot more likely. If the Royals had lost the wild card game, I’m pretty sure the intention would have been to cut payroll slightly. After all, they really stretched it to get to $92 million. It was $10 million more than they had ever spent before, and they had to manuever to stay down that low (they released Emilio Bonifacio after offering him arbitration, they converted $3 million of Guthrie’s salary into a 2016 buyout and they backloaded the deals given to Vargas and Infante).

Now, after the events of October, the Royals need to seize momentum. I’d like to think that many of the dollars they spend this winter will make it back to them in increased attendance. Keep the fans excited and ownership will be rewarded.