Royals find Billy Butler replacement, sign Kendrys Morales

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Billy Butler left the Royals to sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the A’s and now Kansas City has filled the designated hitter spot with Kendrys Morales.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Morales gets a two-year deal worth $17 million, plus incentives. So the Royals save money compared to Butler, but Morales is a huge question mark following a season in which he turned down the qualifying offer, waited until late July to sign, and hit .218 with a .612 OPS in 98 games.

However, in 2012 and 2013 he hit a combined .275 with 45 homers and a .786 OPS in 290 games. By comparison, during that same time Butler hit .301 with 44 homers and an .836 OPS before seeing his production drop significantly (although not as much as Morales’ did) in 2014.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.