KANSAS CITY -- The defending World Series champions are on the brink of elimination from the postseason, but they aren't going out quietly.The Royals had a five-run rally in the ninth on Saturday to win 7-4, and then took the series against the Tigers with a win on Sunday, striking
KANSAS CITY -- The defending World Series champions are on the brink of elimination from the postseason, but they aren't going out quietly.
The Royals had a five-run rally in the ninth on Saturday to win 7-4, and then took the series against the Tigers with a win on Sunday, striking a damaging blow to Detroit's postseason aspirations.
Kansas City (79-77) can still finish above .500, which would be its fourth straight year of doing so, and that hasn't happened since the 1975-80 Royals finished with winning records.
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Plenty to play for. Here's the final regular-season Inbox:
Interesting question. The Royals went into 2016 thinking Jarrod Dyson could be their starting right fielder. Dyson got hurt and got off to a slow start, and eventually manager Ned Yost had no choice but to play Paulo Orlando, who was hitting .350 or so in May and June. But Dyson had a strong September, and he'll be in the mix for the right fielder job in 2016. Billy Burns has impressed Yost and the coaching staff with his speed and peskiness at the plate, so he'll get a look in Spring Training as well. You know how Kansas City loves speed for its organization, and Burns can fly. Plus, Burns is a switch-hitter.
Eric Hosmer got to know Jose Fernandez a bit at the All-Star Game in San Diego. And he told me they went to several functions there and got to know each other. They're both Florida guys, so Hosmer took the news of Fernandez's death hard. And actually, the Royals' entire clubhouse was about as somber as I've ever seen it Sunday morning as they quietly watched television news reports about the boating accident involving Fernandez.
Hosmer is the only player in the final year of arbitration. Players who have mutual options are Edinson Vólquez, Kendrys Morales, Kris Medlen and Luke Hochevar. Keep in mind that the Royals under general manager Dayton Moore have never exercised a mutual option -- those mutual options are more of an accounting trick to beef up the financial details of a contract while limiting a particular season's payroll.
Well, I just recently wrote about this. The Royals need to get some value out of Joakim Soria's contract -- his three-year, $25 million deal has two seasons left. Obviously, he was not very good this season in the bullpen, with seven blown saves and eight losses. To get some value out of that deal, Kansas City could consider making Soria a starter, something that was bounced around last December when it signed him. The argument to have him start is that he never really gets rocked as a reliever, but simply gets nicked for one or two crucial runs. As one coach told me, "Giving up a couple runs here and there is acceptable as a starter." That makes the case for trying Soria as a starter -- you're allowed to give up a run or three in that role. It's something the Royals will talk about in the offseason.
I've talked to Alcides Escobar about this and he really, really wants to play all 162. He has done it one other time in his career and he wants to do it again. It's a pride thing.
Doubtful. The Royals will throw the second-base job open to Christian Colón, Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield next spring, all of whom are better defensive options there, and defense is priority No. 1 with Moore and the front office.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.