Royals Have Plan for Dozier If Free Agents Leave

Royals Have Plan for Dozier If Free Agents Leave

Daily Clips

October 25, 2017


Royals have plan for Dozier if free agents leave

KC considering playing club's No. 3 prospect at first or third base

October 24, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Eric Hosmer: How much are his intangibles worth in free agency?

October 24, 2017By Lee Judge/KC Star

After breaking home run record, Mike Moustakas becomes second Royal to win this award

October 24, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star


3 Omaha Alums Vie For World Series Crown

Beltran attempts to increase Omaha champions streak to 6

October 24, 2017By Andrew Green/Omaha Storm Chasers


Moustakas wins TSN's AL Comeback award

October 24, 2017By David Adler/

Former Royals announcer Bud Blattner up for Ford Frick Award

He was the original Royals broadcaster

October 24, 2017By Max Rieper/Royals Review

October 25, 2017 •


Royals have plan for Dozier if free agents leave

KC considering playing club's No. 3 prospect at first or third base

October 24, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Of the many backup plans that Royals officials have discussed in the event first baseman Eric Hosmer, a pending free agent, signs with another team, one involves former first-round pick Hunter Dozier.

Dozier, 26, has been mostly a third baseman since being drafted No. 8 in 2013, although he has played some outfield and some first base.

One plan going forward in the event of losing Hosmer is having Cheslor Cuthbert play third base next season (assuming pending free agent Mike Moustakas also signs elsewhere) with Dozier potentially at first base.

That scenario, of course, depends on how much Dozier impresses the coaching staff next spring. Dozier has just 19 big league at-bats under his belt, but the Royals have made it clear they could be in position for a rebuild.

Another scenario would have Dozier at third base and Cuthbert at first base. Cuthbert impressed the coaching staff last Spring Training with his athleticism at first base in limited appearances there.

"If both of those guys earn a spot on the team, it's a matter of how we line up best defensively," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told "If Cuthbert is the better defender at third, and to get Dozier on the team, Dozier could play first."

Dozier, the Royals' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, presently is playing in the Mexican League where he has three home runs in nine games with an .894 OPS.

Dozier is playing mostly third base there.

"The plan is to primarily play him at third base with some first base," Picollo said. "The goal is just about at-bats.

"He's been playing [first base] enough over the past couple of years that we're not overly concerned if he gets work at first base down there. It's more just about drill work at first base for him, working on footwork, being on the bag, off the bag. That is more about practice than game situations.

"There is something to be said about game experience but he needs more drill work than anything."

Dozier has intriguing potential as a first baseman -- at 6 feet 4, he has a large wing span, much like Hosmer.

"And he's very athletic with very good hands," Picollo said. "And he has range."

Dozier likely won't play much more outfield. That was an experiment based on the possibility of Alex Gordon leaving for free agency two years ago. And the emergence of Jorge Bonifacio has secured the right-field position in the minds of club officials.

Dozier is coming off an almost wasted season: He suffered an oblique strain coming out of Spring Training and missed April and May. Then in early June, he suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand and missed six more weeks.

That is the principal reason Dozier is playing Winter Ball.

"Just trying to get him some at-bats so he's ready for Spring Training," Picollo said.

Eric Hosmer: How much are his intangibles worth in free agency?

October 24, 2017By Lee Judge/KC Star

When Eric Hosmer introduced me to his father, I told Eric’s dad he had raised his son right: Eric could talk for 30 minutes and not say a damn thing. Eric’s dad laughed and said: “I told him to keep it vanilla with the media.”

Athletes do not speak in clichés because they’re dumb, athletes speak in clichés because they’re smart.

When a ballplayer is being interviewed by a reporter he doesn’t know or trust, clichés are a safe way to go. Nobody ever got in trouble for saying “we played hard for 27 outs” or “that’s a good team over there.”

Off camera, with a reporter he trusts, Hosmer is open, honest and perceptive, but when the cameras are on and he’s surrounded by reporters he doesn’t know, Hosmer can roll out clichés with the best of them.

Fortunately for Eric and whatever team he’s playing for, he’s got enough charisma and charm to make those clichés sound fresh and meaningful and that’s a good skill for a pro athlete to have.

And according to a recent column by Sam Mellinger, that’s one of the reasons agent Scott Boras thinks Eric Hosmer is worth $200 million. Hosmer’s numbers speak for themselves, but Boras is arguing that Hosmer’s intangibles make him worth more than his numbers alone.

Media skills

After games the media need quotes from ballplayers so we trudge into the clubhouse looking for some and almost every night, Eric Hosmer was willing to provide. That took a lot of pressure off his teammates. Not every athlete handles the media well or enjoys dealing with them, so if Hosmer would talk, some of his teammates didn’t have to.

And that was good for the Royals because they knew Hosmer wasn’t going to put his foot in his mouth.

Baseball teams are in the business of selling tickets and as every business knows, it helps to have a good spokesman. If a player is attractive, charismatic and articulate, that helps. It also helps if the player puts up good numbers.

Eric Hosmer checks all the boxes and that’s worth something.

Being a team leader

More than most fans would suspect, big-league teams are run by big-league players. If a coach with a one-year, six-figure contract gets in a dispute with a player with a multi-year, nine-figure contract, the coach might be the one in trouble. That being the case, veteran players are often the ones who need to police their younger teammates.

But being a team leader can be a pain in the neck.

If you tell a teammate to run out ground balls, you better do the same and do it every time. If you tell a teammate to tone down the partying, you better not show up hung over for a day game.

For a lot of veteran players it’s easier to stay in their lane, take care of their own business and stay out of everybody else’s.

When people ask about Eric Hosmer’s leadership, I tell them a story about Yordano Ventura.

One day Ventura got upset about an umpire’s call and worked out his frustration by throwing a billion-mile-an-hour pickoff throw in the general direction of Hosmer at first base. Ventura bounced the throw and Hosmer saved Ventura an error by making a difficult scoop of the ball.

Between innings, Hosmer could be seen talking to Ventura in the dugout.

When I asked Hosmer how that conversation had gone, he said he told Ventura he couldn’t get upset and then take out his frustration by doing dumb things on the field.

Then Hosmer went the extra mile for a teammate: Before I wrote anything too negative about Ventura, Hosmer asked me to consider his background.

Eric talked about his own background: he’d grown up with a dad who would give him a swift quick in the pants if he behaved like that on a baseball field. Ventura grew up having to fight for everything he had and sometimes that pugnacious attitude came out at the wrong time and in the wrong way during a game.

Once again, having a veteran player willing to mentor younger players and defend them to the media is worth something.

Clubhouse effect

When you enter the Royals clubhouse, Eric Hosmer’s locker used to be close to the door, just off to the right. Most of the Latin position players had lockers at the far end of the clubhouse in the right-hand corner.

That’s logical. If you were playing in Japan, life would be easier if you lockered next to the guys who spoke English.

One day I came into the clubhouse and found Hosmer had changed lockers, he was now down in the right-hand corner, smack dab in the middle of the Latin players. When I asked why, Hosmer said the new clubhouse ping-pong table was right behind his old locker and he was getting peppered with errant ping pong balls.

But Hosmer’s choice of a new locker was significant.

As I’ve said before, teams like to present themselves as one, big happy family, but in reality there are divisions within those teams and one of those dividing lines is language. Latin players tend to hang out with other Latin players.

Having a guy who speaks enough Spanish to relate to his Latin teammates and is comfortable moving back and forth between his English-speaking teammates and Latin teammates is helpful and worth something.

But is it worth $200 million?

When fans look at a player, we look at his numbers because that’s all we know about most ballplayers.

When teams look at a player, they look at his numbers, but also want to know something about his personality. Invite the wrong guy into your clubhouse and he can cause more trouble than his numbers are worth.

And in some cases, teams don’t care about a player’s numbers.

In 2014, when the Royals went out and got Raul Ibañez, he wasn’t there for the numbers he was going to put up; he was there to mentor the younger players. Ibañez was a been-there-done-that guy who had been in the postseason and could talk to the Royals players about what that was like and what they were about to experience.

So clearly, baseball teams will pay good money for intangibles.

I’m now getting asked if I think Eric Hosmer is worth $200 million and the answer to this question, like so many others, is I don’t know, but we’re about to find out. If some team thinks Eric Hosmer is worth $200 million then, whether you agree or not, Eric Hosmer is worth $200 million.

But now you know at least some of what that team will be paying for.

After breaking home run record, Mike Moustakas becomes second Royal to win this award

October 24, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas made history in 2017, clubbing 38 homers and breaking the franchise record of 36 set by Steve Balboni in 1985.

The performance was impressive. The context was even better. One year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Chicago, Moustakas rebounded with one of the best seasons of his career. On Tuesday, he was rewarded by being selected The Sporting News’ American League comeback player of the year.

Moustakas, who will become a free agent at the conclusion of the World Series, tied for fifth in the American League in home runs and also set career highs with 75 runs, 85 RBIs and a .521 slugging percentage. He finished with 2.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. He joins former starting pitcher Bret Saberhagen in 1987 as the only Royals to earn the honor.

Moustakas was voted to his second All-Star Game and competed in the Home Run Derby for the first time. He might have become the first Royal to eclipse 40 homers. But a nagging knee injury slowed his record-breaking pace in August and September.

In the National League, former Royals closer Greg Holland took home the comeback player award after returning from Tommy John surgery and notching 41 saves for the Colorado Rockies.

The Sporting News has given out the comeback player awards since 1965. According to the publication, this year’s awards were based on voting by 125 American League players and 88 National Leaguers.


3 Omaha Alums Vie For World Series Crown

Beltran attempts to increase Omaha champions streak to 6

October 24, 2017By Andrew Green/Omaha Storm Chasers

The 2017 edition of baseball's Fall Classic will once again have some Omaha flavor thanks to three members of the Houston Astros advancing to the World Series to face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Should the Astros successfully top the Dodgers, it would mark the sixth consecutive season an Omaha alum has gone on to earn a World Series title as a player.

Carlos Beltran , one of the best players statistically in MLB Postseason history, returns to play in the World Series for the second time in his career. Entering Tuesday night's game, he owns a lifetime batting average of .311 (66-212) in 62 playoff matchups, adding 45 runs, 15 doubles, one triple, 16 homers and 42 RBI. Beltran in 129 games this year, his age-40 season, posted a .231 clip (108-467) with 60 runs, 29 doubles, 14 homers and 51 RBI. Overall in his MLB career he has recorded over 2,700 hits and earned nine All-Star Game nods, in addition to three Gold Glove Awards and and two Silver Slugger Awards.

Beltran's time in Omaha was brief, playing in only five games as part of a Major League Rehab Assignment during the 2000 Omaha Golden Spikes campaign, batting .333 (6-18) with four runs, one double, two homers and two RBI. He recorded hits in five of his 11 at-bats at Rosenblatt Stadium over three games between September 1-3 that year. As some may know, Beltran's counsin Rey Fuentes also played with the Omaha Storm Chasers between the 2015-16 seasons, combining for a .288 average (183-636) along with 102 runs, 19 doubles, seven triples, nine homers and 60 RBI, in addition to 46 steals in 57 attempts.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch is also connected to the Omaha franchise, having played for the Omaha Golden Spikes in 2001. He hit .321 (54-168) in 45 contests, adding 28 runs, 14 doubles, ten homers and 33 RBI. He would go on to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2009-10 seasons before taking the reins of the Astros starting in 2015. His combined managerial record with the Astros in 486 regular season games is 271-215 (.558).

Should Hinch's club be victorious, he would become the first former player in Omaha franchise history to manage a club to a World Series win. Jack McKeon, the first manager in Omaha franchise history from 1969-72 managed the then-Florida Marlins to a World Series victory in 2003. McKeon with the Omaha Royals also earned American Association League Championships in each of his first two seasons in 1969-70.

Astros first base coach Rich Dauer was also a member of the 1993 Omaha Royals coaching staff , the second year of Jeff Cox's three year reign as the club's manager, with the team finishing at a 70-74 clip. Dauer was also a ten-year Major League veteran with the Baltimore Orioles from 1976-85, batting .257 (984-3829) with 448 runs, 193 doubles, three triples, 43 homers and 372 RBI. He was a member of the Orioles' World Series Championship club in 1983, and also won a pair of College World Series titles in Omaha during his time at the University of Southern California (1973-74). Dauer is one of a select few to have won both a World Series and College World Series title.

Should that trio win the 2017 Fall Classic with the Astros, it would mark the sixth consecutive season in which an Omaha alum has earned a World Series ring as a player. 2011-12 Storm Chasers southpaw Mike Montgomery notched the save in the deciding seventh game of last year's World Series with the Cubs. A total of 14 former Storm Chasers alums won the 2015 World Series with the Kansas City Royals, while 2011 Storm Chasers outfielder Gregor Blanco earned a ring with the San Francisco Giants the previous year, in addition to the 2012 Fall Classic. 2013 Omaha outfielder Quintin Berry was acquired by the Boston Red Sox midway through that season prior to winning that year's World Series with the Red Sox.


Moustakas wins TSN's AL Comeback award

October 24, 2017By David Adler/

Mike Moustakas was named The Sporting News' American League Comeback Player of the Year for 2017 on Tuesday.

The Royals third baseman set the franchise's single-season record with 38 home runs this year. Moustakas was named an All-Star for the second time in his career, finished the season tied for fifth in homers among AL hitters and tied for eighth in the Majors.

Last season, Moustakas was able to play only 27 games after tearing his ACL on May 22 in a collision with teammate Alex Gordon while chasing a foul fly ball down the left-field line.