KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won four straight series and suddenly are knocking on the door in the American League Central. The once-dormant offense has awoken, and there are positive vibes throughout the clubhouse.With that backdrop, let's get to this week's Royals Inbox.
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won four straight series and suddenly are knocking on the door in the American League Central. The once-dormant offense has awoken, and there are positive vibes throughout the clubhouse.
With that backdrop, let's get to this week's Royals Inbox.
That's a great question. We only have seen two starts from left-hander Matt Strahm -- one very good, one not so good -- but the Royals have high hopes for him as a starter. But let's not forget how well Nate Karns was pitching before he got hurt. When all are healthy, the Royals like their rotation of Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel and Karns. Strahm likely would go back to the bullpen vs. starting at Triple-A -- he's too good not to be on the 25-man roster, and the Royals pride themselves on a shutdown bullpen.
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I get this question a lot, it seems. One thing the Royals noticed last year as Mike Minor was trying to get healthy enough to be activated was that he seemed to tire after 55-60 pitches. Though he had never been a reliever before, the Royals thought putting him in the bullpen was the best way to get production out of him. And man, it has worked. Minor can hit 95-97 mph now with his fastball, and he has 1.93 ERA in 30 appearances. He is too valuable in the bullpen to move.
This could be one of the most interesting roster decisions of the season. Left-hander Brian Flynn's rehab assignment expires on Sunday, at which time the Royals will have to activate him off the 60-day disabled list and put him back on the 40-man roster, which presently is full. Flynn has an option left -- a rare fourth option -- so he can be sent to Triple-A. That's not the issue. Bumping someone else off the 40-man is.
The Royals love to say "these things work themselves out." And they do, eventually. One possibility is they could transfer Hunter Dozier (fractured hamate bone in his left wrist) to the 60-day disabled list. What the Royals don't want to do is part with any inventory, which makes this especially intriguing, unless they are completely backed into a corner.
This is a legitimate question, and it may seem like the Royals have lost faith in Brandon Moss, who is hitting .184 and slugging only at .388. But that is not the case. The Royals simply have been facing a lot of left-handers lately, so Moss has sat. Manager Ned Yost has told me often lately they want to, and need to, get Moss going offensively.
Not anytime soon. Kyle Zimmer just got back to Omaha from injury and has thrown four scoreless innings in relief. Bubba Starling, after a dreadful start, has really picked it up and has hit .341 over his last 10 games with two home runs and seven RBIs. Let's let them both enjoy some success first.
I will maintain that if the Royals have a sniff of the division or Wild Card come late July, they won't be big traders at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Dayton Moore has told me numerous times he is in no hurry to break up this team. He would like one more run at the postseason with this core group, which now is hitting on all cylinders. There are two big reasons why he won't gut this team -- they can't afford a massive attendance drop in this market, and they have to think about television ratings and a new TV contract after this one expires after 2019.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.