The Royals could have interest in Mark Ellis

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The Dodgers inked Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October and intend to give him a shot at the starting second base job in the spring, which means that Mark Ellis will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculates that his next stop could be with the Royals.

Emilio Bonifacio came on strong after he was acquired from the Blue Jays late in the year, but the Royals apparently aren’t convinced that he’s the answer at second base. Ellis has declined offensively since his days with the Athletics, but he still does enough on defense to have value. The Dodgers declined a $5.75 million club option on the 36-year-old after he batted .270/.323/.351 with six home runs and 48 RBI over 126 games this past season.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?