The position players have joined the pitchers and the full squad workouts have begun. We’re a few days away from the first action of the spring. This needs to get here soon. I can’t wait much longer. The “best shape of their life” stories are starting to make me feel jaded. Imagine that.
Until then, here are a few more notes…
— Over the weekend, the Royals tabbed Luis Mendoza as the starter for the opener of the Cactus League. The team is determined to give Mendoza a long, long look this spring, so it’s not surprising he gets the ball in the first exhibition game.
I think he’s a long shot to make the rotation, but the Royals seem to have him penciled in… In other words, a spot is his to lose. This just continues to baffle me… Mendoza simply doesn’t miss enough bats to be consistently effective at the major league level. He whiffed just 5.1 SO/9 last year in 144 innings in Omaha. And it’s not like he was a strikeout pitcher once upon a time. As an 18 year old in the Gulf Coast Rookie League way back in 2002, he struck out just 3.3 batters per nine.
With all the talk about the Royals not wanting to block any of their young starters, the facination with Mendoza is a bit puzzling. At least he’s low cost and easy to get rid of, should he actually make the opening day roster.
There has to be better options.
— They found Jose Mijares!
He missed five practices, but had played winter ball in the Venzuelan league, so it’s not like he needs to shake off four months of rust.
I also like this comment… When asked why he signed with the Royals: “More money.”
He may not be able to get out right-handed batters, but at least he’s honest.
— Interesting that Ryan Zimmerman just signed an extension with the Washington Nationals. Zimmerman was selected with the number four pick in the 2005 draft, just two picks after the Royals nabbed Alex Gordon. Zimmerman made his debut that season and hit .397/.419/.569 in 20 games.
He was already extended once. After the ’09 season, he inked a five year, $40 million deal. His new contract will carry him (potentially) through the 2020 season at a total of $100 million. I bring this up, not in comparison to Gordon (although I’m sure some will still lament this selection… Get over it.) rather to draw a parallel to what the Nationals are currently doing, to what the Royals need to do in the near future. The Nats have a core of players tied to their club for the next few years. And they also have a number of prospects that should be arriving during those seasons as well, giving Washington a number of options going forward.
Who is the Royals Zimmerman? The obvious answer would be Eric Hosmer. It’s worth noting that Zimmerman’s first extension came in his first winter of arbitration eligibility. I know there are many who are skeptical that Scott Boras won’t let something like that happen, but let’s not put the cart before the proverbial horse. Anything is possible, but the key takeaway from this is the Royals have some time with the young ones… There’s no reason to act immediately.
Plan, prepare and get this right.
— The most recently completed weekend was the last one without baseball until late October. Yesssssss.