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Joel booked for first show at The K since '79

Royals Hall of Famer Brett announces Sept. 21 concert
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- For the first time in 39 years, Kauffman Stadium will host a concert not associated with a baseball game.

Royals legend George Brett made the announcement at a news conference inside Kauffman Stadium on Friday, revealing that another legend, Billy Joel, will perform at The K on Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.

KANSAS CITY -- For the first time in 39 years, Kauffman Stadium will host a concert not associated with a baseball game.

Royals legend George Brett made the announcement at a news conference inside Kauffman Stadium on Friday, revealing that another legend, Billy Joel, will perform at The K on Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.

"When I was playing," Brett said, "there wasn't a single act that was bigger than Billy Joel. I'm really excited about this. This is going to be something."

Tickets will go on sale to the public starting Jan. 26 at 10 a.m. CT at royals.com/billyjoel.

The most recent concert at Kauffman Stadium was in 1979 and featured REO Speedwagon.

Joel, who has sold over 150 million records, is the third-largest selling solo artist of all time.

The stage for the concert will be on the field in deep center beneath Kauffman Stadium's 84-by-104-foot scoreboard.

Dave Gerardi of Live Nation Entertainment, which is producing the event, joked that Royals groundskeeper Trevor Vance, "Shouldn't be nervous. We'll have it all under control."

After Brett finished speaking at the news conference, Toby Cook, Royals vice president of publicity, shared some remarkable similarities and coincidences between Brett's career and Joel's:

• Brett started his pro career in 1971. Joel released his first album "Cold Spring Harbor" in 1971.

• Brett made his Major League debut in 1973, the same year that Joel's first hit, "Piano Man," cracked the Billboard Top 100.

• Brett became the first Major Leaguer to win batting titles in three different decades -- the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Joel had No. 1 singles and albums in all three decades.

• Brett retired in 1993. Joel released his last album of original songs in 1993 ("River of Dreams").

• Brett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Joel was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

"And we'll both be at The K on September 21st," Brett said.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

Pratto draws flattering comparisons to Hosmer

Royals' 2017 first-round pick named No. 4 first-base prospect by MLB Pipeline
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have tried their best to shy away from making any comparisons of Nick Pratto, their first-round pick in the Draft in 2017, to another first baseman and former first-round pick, Eric Hosmer.

But from the moment Pratto was selected, the comparisons nonetheless leaped out. Both were high school players drafted at 18 years old. Both bat left-handed and throw left-handed. Both were known as gap hitters with high defensive ceilings.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have tried their best to shy away from making any comparisons of Nick Pratto, their first-round pick in the Draft in 2017, to another first baseman and former first-round pick, Eric Hosmer.

But from the moment Pratto was selected, the comparisons nonetheless leaped out. Both were high school players drafted at 18 years old. Both bat left-handed and throw left-handed. Both were known as gap hitters with high defensive ceilings.

And like Hosmer was at the time, Pratto now is one of the top prospects at his position in all of baseball. In fact, Pratto is the No. 4 prospect at first base, per MLB Pipeline.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

The top three are Tampa Bay's Brendan McKay, Colorado's Ryan McMahon and Arizona's Pavin Smith.

Pratto impressed the Royals in his first season as a pro. In 52 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Pratto slashed .247/.330/.414 with 15 doubles and four home runs and 10 stolen bases.

"We were very pleased with what he did," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "We liked his swing and we liked his approach at the plate. He has a very good awareness of the strike zone, very advanced for his age."

Pratto's defense also caught the Royals' eyes.

"You know, we don't like making comparisons [to Hosmer]," Picollo said, "but it's really eerie how similar they are when you look at them defensively. Nick has soft hands, he has the footwork around the base, a strong arm. It's definitely a little eerie."

Video: Callis on potential of the Royals' prospects

That would be high praise, given that Hosmer has accumulated four Gold Glove Awards -- only eight first basemen in history have garnered more.

The Royals would expect Pratto to start this season at Class A Lexington.

"We haven't set anything in stone," Picollo said, "but there's no reason he can't start there."

And if all goes well, perhaps Pratto will follow a similar path to the big leagues as Hosmer, who debuted by his fourth professional season.

"All players develop a little differently," Picollo said. "But certainly he has the skill set to move through the system quickly.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

Royals hire Lamont as special assistant to GM

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Now that former Major League manager and Tigers coach Gene Lamont is officially a special assistant to the general manager of the Royals, there are a few people he'd like to meet.

Namely that would be comedians Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle -- all from Kansas City -- and Will Ferrell.

KANSAS CITY -- Now that former Major League manager and Tigers coach Gene Lamont is officially a special assistant to the general manager of the Royals, there are a few people he'd like to meet.

Namely that would be comedians Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle -- all from Kansas City -- and Will Ferrell.

See, it was several years ago at an annual Big Slick charity event at Kauffman Stadium when Rudd and Ferrell began endlessly -- and good-naturedly -- heckling Lamont at a game when Lamont was the third-base coach for the Tigers. The comedians were seated in a nearby dugout suite.

Later, Rudd and his comedic pals even incorporated Lamont's name into the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Funny thing is, Lamont had no idea until recently.

"I keep reading about this," Lamont told MLB.com by phone. "But the funny part is that I never heard them. Honestly. Once the game starts, a third-base coach just blocks everything out. You hear so much from the fans, you tend to block everything out.

"I wish I had heard them. I would have thrown them a ball or something. The charity thing is pretty neat, and maybe this year I can help them out and participate."

Video: TOR@KC: Rudd, Sudeikis, Riggle, more talk Big Slick

Lamont, 71, joins the Royals after 12 seasons as a coach with the Tigers. He will assist general manager Dayton Moore.

"What strikes you about Dayton is he is a good baseball man and a good person," Lamont said. "I'm not sure what my duties are yet, but I think I'll be looking over some of the Minor League players and maybe some of the big league guys, too."

Lamont said part of him will miss the Tigers but that it was time to move on and leave the field.

Lamont has served as a coach with the Pirates (1986-91, 1996), Red Sox (2001), Astros (2002-04) and Tigers (2006-17). From 1978-85, he was a manager in the Royals' farm system, at the helm for the Class A Fort Myers Royals from 1978-79, the Double-A Jacksonville Suns from 1980-83 and the Triple-A Omaha Royals from 1984-85.

"I had some great pitchers during that time with the Royals," Lamont said. "I had [Mark] Gubicza, [Danny] Jackson, [David] Cone and [Bret] Saberhagen. Those are some good arms."

Lamont led the White Sox to an American League West title in 1993, and he was named AL Manager of the Year that season. Overall, he managed Chicago from 1992-95 and Pittsburgh from 1997-2000.

The 2018 season will mark Lamont's 54th year in professional baseball.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

Royals avoid arbitration with Herrera, Karns

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore never has had one of his players go to arbitration since he took over the job in 2006.

That impressive streak again will be on the line this year as the Royals now have just one arbitration-eligible player: right-hander Brandon Maurer, who filed a $3.5 million offer, while the club countered with $2.95 million on Friday.

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore never has had one of his players go to arbitration since he took over the job in 2006.

That impressive streak again will be on the line this year as the Royals now have just one arbitration-eligible player: right-hander Brandon Maurer, who filed a $3.5 million offer, while the club countered with $2.95 million on Friday.

The arbitration hearings are scheduled to run from Jan. 29-Feb. 16, though teams are free to sign deals before the hearing dates. The Royals have settled with right-hander Nate Karns for $1.375 million and right-hander Kelvin Herrera for $7,937,500, according to a source. The club does not disclose terms of agreements.

Both players will have incentives. Karns will receive $12,500 if he starts 15 games and $25,000 if he starts 20. Herrera will earn a $50,000 bonus for making the All-Star Game.

The closest call in terms of going to an arbitration hearing for Moore came in 2015, when first baseman Eric Hosmer was within a couple of hours of boarding a flight to his hearing when the sides settled on a two-year deal.

Karns, who made $571,000 last season, was in his first year of arbitration. Karns was 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in nine games, eight of them starts, before his season was shelved in May. He later had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and he is expected to be ready for Spring Training, where he'll compete for a rotation spot.

Herrera, who had a base salary of $5.325 million in 2017, was in his final year of arbitration. Herrera was 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA last season and was 26 of 31 in save opportunities before losing his closer's role in September. He also has been the subject of numerous trade rumors as the Royals engage in a rebuild.

Maurer, acquired at the non-waiver Trade Deadline from the Padres, is in his second year of arbitration and had a base salary of $1.9 million in 2017. In 26 games for the Royals, Maurer had an 8.10 ERA with a 2.25 WHIP.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Herrera, Nate Karns, Brandon Maurer

Royals will have new-look bullpen in 2018

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Just as is the case with the Royals' lineup and rotation, the potential bullpen heading into 2018 surely will undergo more changes.

The club already has traded left-hander Scott Alexander and right-hander Joakim Soria, and lost closer Mike Minor to free agency. Expect more deals to come that could involve right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who was the closer last season before being demoted in September.

KANSAS CITY -- Just as is the case with the Royals' lineup and rotation, the potential bullpen heading into 2018 surely will undergo more changes.

The club already has traded left-hander Scott Alexander and right-hander Joakim Soria, and lost closer Mike Minor to free agency. Expect more deals to come that could involve right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who was the closer last season before being demoted in September.

Herrera made $5.325 million last season and is in his final year of arbitration -- general manager Dayton Moore would certainly view trading Herrera as an important step in his goal this offseason of trimming payroll and restocking the farm system.

Duffy, Kennedy atop projected Royals rotation

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected bullpen of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Royals might stack up:

BULLPEN IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Kelvin Herrera, RHP (closer)
Brandon Maurer RHP
Wily Peralta, RHP
Kevin McCarthy, RHP
Ryan Buchter, LHP
Miguel Almonte, RHP
Andres Machado, RHP
Burch Smith, RHP

Video: KC@OAK: Herrera K's Pinder to earn the save vs. A's

STRENGTH
There are some power arms here even if the Royals do trade Herrera. Peralta, acquired from the Brewers, can bring it at 96-98 mph, as can Maurer. McCarthy (3.20 ERA in 33 games) and his heavy sinker could be a quality setup guy. Buchter offers the same type of production from the left side (2.67 ERA in 29 outings with a 0.89 WHIP). Almonte and Machado also bring it at 95-mph-plus, and Smith, acquired in a trade through the Rule 5 Draft, has touched 100 mph. The Royals do love power arms in the 'pen.

How Royals' 2018 starting lineup looks today

QUESTION MARK
Who will close in 2018? Minor took over the role in September and went 7-for-7 in save opportunities, but he is now with the Rangers. Two other candidates -- Soria and Alexander -- have been traded. Herrera, if he is still here, would assume the role again, though he seems more comfortable as a setup man. If Herrera is traded, perhaps the Royals try Maurer, who closed for the Padres (33 saves over two seasons), or even Peralta, who has terrific stuff, but he has been an enigma in terms of production. The Royals do have a history of converting starters to late-inning guys (Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar).

Video: Royals sign Wily Peralta to add pitching depth

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Stop me if you've heard this before: A lot could change. Moore and his staff are in rebuilding mode, so more deals could be on the way, starting with Herrera. The guess here is Maurer would get first crack at the closer's role, but don't be surprised if Peralta gets a chance to show his talent in that role come Spring Training. The Royals also are hoping some prospects (right-hander Josh Staumont) can emerge in Spring Training and claim a bullpen role. And the club is bullish on Smith as a late-inning guy.

 

Kansas City Royals, Ryan Buchter, Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Maurer, Kevin McCarthy

Duffy placed on probation for DUI

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy pled guilty to driving under the influence in a Kansas City suburb last summer, and he has been placed on probation, according to a report in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday.

A city official in the suburb of Overland Park, Kan., told the newspaper that Duffy entered the plea last Thursday, was fined $1,220 and must avoid alcohol for a year, per the probation.

KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy pled guilty to driving under the influence in a Kansas City suburb last summer, and he has been placed on probation, according to a report in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday.

A city official in the suburb of Overland Park, Kan., told the newspaper that Duffy entered the plea last Thursday, was fined $1,220 and must avoid alcohol for a year, per the probation.

Duffy was cited for DUI on Aug. 27 in the drive-through lane of an Overland Park restaurant.

Duffy, 29, has four years left on a five-year, $65 million deal and has been the subject of several trade rumors this offseason as the Royals look to conduct a rebuild.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy

Royals' Watson honored with scouting award

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- When Royals director of pro scouting Gene Watson got the call that he was receiving the Legends in Scouting Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, he joked that there must be a mistake.

"I'm not that old, am I?" asked Watson, 49.

KANSAS CITY -- When Royals director of pro scouting Gene Watson got the call that he was receiving the Legends in Scouting Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, he joked that there must be a mistake.

"I'm not that old, am I?" asked Watson, 49.

But the PBSF assured him that the award was not age-related and was instead a tribute to those scouts who exemplify a love for the game and a passion for scouting. Watson certainly qualified.

Watson received the award at the 15th annual PBSF Awards Dnner in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday. The event always brings out an array of stars across the baseball and entertainment fields, from George Brett to Tommy Lasorda to Larry King to Robert Wuhl.

"It was a very humbling experience," Watson said. "I was very honored. Scouting is my life, my passion."

The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation was founded in 2003 by White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert, D-backs executive Roland Hemond and big league scouts Dave Yoakum (White Sox) and Harry Minor (Mets), primarily as a way to provide financial assistance to scouts who have fallen on hard times due to job loss, illness or retirement.

Watson is in his 12th season with the Royals after coming from the Marlins' organization, where he worked as a pro scout covering the American League Central and the National League Central from 2002-05.

Watson began in the Padres' system in 1997 before joining the Braves and working under Royals general manager Dayton Moore there from 2000-02.

Watson played college baseball at the University of Texas at Arlington from 1989-91.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

KC taps Rojas to manage Double-A squad

Son of Royals Hall of Famer takes over after Wilson's promotion
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals announced their Minor League coaching staffs for 2018, and they will welcome a familiar name to manage their Double-A Northwest Arkansas affiliate: Mike Rojas, son of Royals Hall of Famer Cookie Rojas.

Rojas will replace Vance Wilson, who was promoted to bullpen coach on Kansas City's Major League staff.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals announced their Minor League coaching staffs for 2018, and they will welcome a familiar name to manage their Double-A Northwest Arkansas affiliate: Mike Rojas, son of Royals Hall of Famer Cookie Rojas.

Rojas will replace Vance Wilson, who was promoted to bullpen coach on Kansas City's Major League staff.

Other notable changes: Brian Buchanan, who was the Royals' assistant hitting coach under Dale Sveum, was reassigned to be Triple-A Omaha's hitting coach; and Doug Henry, who had been the Royals' bullpen coach, was reassigned to be Class A Advanced Wilmington's pitching coach. Both moves were expected.

Henry's manager will be Darryl Kennedy, who previously managed Wilmington in 2008 and '14. Kennedy takes over for Jamie Quirk, who left for unspecified reasons after two years at the helm.

Rookie-level Surprise will have a new manager in Tony Pena Jr., whose father, Tony, managed Kansas City from 2002-05.

Rojas, 54, joins the Royals after spending last season as the manager at Toledo, the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate. Rojas previously served as the Major League bullpen coach with the Mariners from 2014-15 and with the Tigers in 2011-13.

Brian Poldberg returns to Triple-A Omaha as the manager for the fifth straight season. He will be joined by pitching coach Andy Hawkins and Buchanan.

Rookie-level Burlington (N.C.) will have a new manager in Brooks Conrad, who played parts of six seasons in the Majors with Oakland (2008), Atlanta (2009-11), Milwaukee ('12), Tampa Bay ('12) and San Diego ('14). Carlos Martinez, in his 17th year in Kansas City's organization, will serve as Burlington's pitching coach for the seventh straight season. Nelson Liriano returns for his second stint as hitting coach in Burlington, where he previously held that position in 2014 and served as manager there from 2009-11.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

Duffy, Kennedy atop projected Royals rotation

KC could deal veterans for younger arms before season opens
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- As it stands, left-hander Danny Duffy would be the Royals' Opening Day starter and the leader of the rotation going into 2018.

But the Royals are in rebuild mode, and general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear that virtually everyone on his roster is a potential trade asset to help restock the farm system.

KANSAS CITY -- As it stands, left-hander Danny Duffy would be the Royals' Opening Day starter and the leader of the rotation going into 2018.

But the Royals are in rebuild mode, and general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear that virtually everyone on his roster is a potential trade asset to help restock the farm system.

And Duffy, predictably, received plenty of interest in terms of trade talks at the Winter Meetings last month and ever since.

So what will the Royals' rotation look like come March 29? Well, right-hander Ian Kennedy and his seemingly unmovable contract seem a lock. So do right-handers Nate Karns and Jakob Junis, whom the Royals consider part of the youth movement.

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected rotation of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the Royals might stack up:

ROTATION IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Danny Duffy, LHP
Ian Kennedy, RHP
Jason Hammel, RHP
Nate Karns, RHP
Jakob Junis, RHP

Video: KC@CWS: Duffy allows two through six innings of work

STRENGTHS
If the Royals don't trade Duffy, this could be a decent rotation. Duffy returns from an injury-plagued year but still has dynamite stuff, everyone knows that. Kennedy was excellent in 2016 (3.68 ERA in 195 2/3 innings) but never seemed to recover from a May hamstring injury last season. He should bounce back. Hammel had a solid post-All-Star break stretch (nine out of 12 starts giving up three runs or fewer) but struggled before and after. Before a thoracic outlet syndrome injury ended his season in May, Karns was a strikeout machine (51 K's in 45 1/3 innings with a 1.19 WHIP). Junis had a solid rookie year (9-3, 4.30 ERA), even better than his numbers suggest.

QUESTION MARKS
Can Kennedy and Hammel bounce back? Will Karns be ready for Opening Day and can he stay healthy? Will big league hitters adjust to Junis in his second year? Where is the depth outside of recently acquired Trevor Oaks?

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Duffy and Hammel still could be dealt before Opening Day. Someone else in the Royals' system could emerge, such as hard-throwing right-hander Josh Staumont or lefties Foster Griffin, Eric Stout or Eric Skoglund, and maybe even right-hander Brad Keller, whom the Royals got in a Rule 5 Draft trade.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis, Nate Karns, Ian Kennedy

Recovered from fall, Yost to attend FanFest

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- If you know Royals manager Ned Yost, you would expect nothing less.

Yost said he will attend Royals FanFest on Jan. 26-27, despite suffering a serious fractured pelvis in late November after a 20-foot fall from a tree stand.

KANSAS CITY -- If you know Royals manager Ned Yost, you would expect nothing less.

Yost said he will attend Royals FanFest on Jan. 26-27, despite suffering a serious fractured pelvis in late November after a 20-foot fall from a tree stand.

In fact, Yost told MLB.com that he has recovered enough to be back up hunting in the trees surrounding his Georgia farm ground.

"I'm ready to go," Yost told MLB.com. "I've been back up [in the trees stands]. Just didn't see anything."

Yost also said he is ready for Spring Training to start.

"I'll be ready to go," Yost said. "I'm going around just like I used to do. I don't use the wheelchair anymore. I can move. I'm mobile.

"I know what the doctors said, but hey, I'm good. I'm back to what I used to be. People that didn't know what happened won't know what happened to me."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

How Royals' 2018 starting lineup looks today

Hosmer's decision in free agency to determine KC's outlook
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- There likely are plenty more changes coming to the Royals' roster over the next weeks leading into Spring Training.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear his team is in the beginning stages of a rebuild.

KANSAS CITY -- There likely are plenty more changes coming to the Royals' roster over the next weeks leading into Spring Training.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore has made it clear his team is in the beginning stages of a rebuild.

How severe will the rebuild be? That is unknown, and it may depend on if they can re-sign first baseman Eric Hosmer. With Hosmer back, the rebuild might not be as dramatic. Without him, Moore may decide to purge almost every player who is desirable to other teams, knowing that the Royals aren't likely to compete for the postseason for several years.

Video: Flanagan on potential Hosmer, Royals reunion

In the midst of all of this uncertainty, if the season started today, this is what the Royals' lineup might look like come March 29 at Kauffman Stadium.

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Whit Merrifield, 2B
Paulo Orlando, CF
Salvador Perez, C
Brandon Moss, 1B
Jorge Bonifacio, RF
Alex Gordon, LF
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
Jorge Soler, DH
Raul Mondesi, SS

STRENGTH
If the Royals don't trade Merrifield, he proved last season to be a proven dynamic hitter at the top of the lineup. He slashed .288/.324/.460 with 19 home runs and 34 steals. Orlando is a speedy No. 2 hitter who can slash to all fields. The Royals are hoping Gordon continues to utilize the opposite field as he did during a 20-game stretch in September when he hit .317 with a .990 OPS. Soler could present some pop at the bottom of the order, and Mondesi has the speed and occasional pop to inflict some damage at the bottom of the order.

QUESTION MARK
Perez and Moss are not reliable run-producers and strike out too much. Bonifacio could be headed toward a sophomore slump. Orlando took a nose dive in 2017 after a quality '16 season. And no one knows if Gordon will return to his 2011-15 form, or if Soler can consistently hit big league pitching, or if Mondesi will turn the corner and realize his potential.

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Everything. The Royals could re-sign Hosmer, which would secure the first-base spot and then create a desirable DH platoon of Moss/Soler. Also, Merrifield could be dealt, which would mean the Royals would be looking for a second baseman and leadoff hitter when the season starts. Almost anything could change as Moore looks to rebuild the farm system, meaning any player with value could be dealt. Stay tuned.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

KC names non-roster invitees, ST report dates

Seven of Royals' Top 30 Prospects get call to big league camp
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' list of 19 non-roster players who will be invited to Spring Training includes seven on the team's Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline.

Included on the list: left-hander Foster Griffin (No. 6 prospect), right-hander Josh Staumont (No. 9), infielder Nicky Lopez (No. 11), catcher Chase Vallot (No. 12), first baseman Ryan O'Hearn (No. 14) outfielder Donnie Dewees (No. 18) and left-hander Richard Lovelady (No. 25).

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' list of 19 non-roster players who will be invited to Spring Training includes seven on the team's Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline.

Included on the list: left-hander Foster Griffin (No. 6 prospect), right-hander Josh Staumont (No. 9), infielder Nicky Lopez (No. 11), catcher Chase Vallot (No. 12), first baseman Ryan O'Hearn (No. 14) outfielder Donnie Dewees (No. 18) and left-hander Richard Lovelady (No. 25).

Other non-roster invites: right-handers Glenn Sparkman, Mike Broadway, Kevin Lenik and Seth Maness, catchers Nicholas Dini and Parker Morin, infielders Cody Asche, Jack Lopez, Humberto Arteaga, Erick Mejia and Frank Schwindel and outfielder Terrance Gore.

Video: KC@SD: Staumont fans five over three scoreless frames

Maness was in the Royals' organization last season and was recently re-signed to a Minor League deal.

Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise, Ariz., on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The remainder of the squad will report on Sunday, Feb. 18.

FanFest appearances

The Royals released a tentative list of the players scheduled to appear at the Royals FanFest on Jan. 26 and 27 at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City: Scott Barlow, Ryan Buchter, Billy Burns, Drew Butera, Hunter Dozier, Danny Duffy, Brian Flynn, Cam Gallagher, Alex Gordon, Jakob Junis, Nate Karns, Ian Kennedy, Kevin McCarthy, Whit Merrifield, Brandon Moss, Salvador Perez, Eric Skoglund and Kyle Zimmer.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals

Oaks begins Royals career at rookie program

Pitching prospect dealt from Dodgers on cusp of big leagues
MLB.com

When he got the call, right-hander Trevor Oaks was in the middle of MLB's Rookie Career Development Program, preparing to begin his Major League career with the Dodgers. Once the call was over, he started preparing for his career with the Royals.

Oaks was traded Thursday night to Kansas City as part of a three-team deal, ending a four-year stint in the Dodgers' organization just as he was on the cusp of the big leagues.

When he got the call, right-hander Trevor Oaks was in the middle of MLB's Rookie Career Development Program, preparing to begin his Major League career with the Dodgers. Once the call was over, he started preparing for his career with the Royals.

Oaks was traded Thursday night to Kansas City as part of a three-team deal, ending a four-year stint in the Dodgers' organization just as he was on the cusp of the big leagues.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi broke the news to Oaks through a phone call that came during dinner of the pitcher's first day at the RCDP.

"I didn't know what they were calling about," Oaks told MLB.com. "I thought they were asking if everyone showed up or something like that, because one of the guys wasn't able to make it. It was Farhan, our GM, and he just said, 'Hey Trevor, we traded you today to the Kansas City Royals.'"

Oaks was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and it appeared he would reach the Majors during the 2018 season. To prepare him, the Dodgers sent him to the RCDP.

Located in Leesburg, Va., just outside Washington, the program is a joint effort between MLB and the MLB Players Association to prepare players nearing the Majors for the challenges they will face off the field, such as media training and financial planning.

Video: Royals adds potential starters in Oaks, Mejia

Now ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the Royals' system by MLB Pipeline, Oaks is already seeing changes at the program. He was soon moved to the American League Central group of players, and he has selected 34 as his jersey number with Kansas City. That number is a step up from what he had while in camp with Los Angeles.

"With the Dodgers, it was 88, so I thought it was like a batboy. So I'll probably not pick that number again," Oaks said with a laugh.

Oaks will soon report to his first Spring Training with the Royals, where he hopes to improve on his numbers from last season.

Oaks posted a 3.64 ERA in 84 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City, striking out 72 and walking 18. He missed large chunks of July and August with an oblique injury. He said his most important thing to work on is staying healthy, but there are things on the mound he wants to improve as well.

"Last year, I kind of had some troubles with my sinker, that's been my bread-and-butter for my career," Oaks said. "This offseason, it's been really good and I've made some good adjustments and really figured it out again. So I'm excited to show up to Spring Training with a fresh start in a new organization and show them what I'm all about."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com.

 

Kansas City Royals, Trevor Oaks

Royals trade Soria, Alexander for prospects

Oaks ranked 14th in Dodgers' system; Mejia a 'plus-plus defender'
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' rebuilding process kick-started Thursday when they traded veteran right-hander Joakim Soria and emerging bullpen star left-hander Scott Alexander in a three-team deal with the Dodgers and White Sox while acquiring right-handed prospect Trevor Oaks and infielder Erick Mejia.

Alexander, 28, pitched in 58 games with the Royals last season and posted a 2.48 ERA. He was sent to the Dodgers.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' rebuilding process kick-started Thursday when they traded veteran right-hander Joakim Soria and emerging bullpen star left-hander Scott Alexander in a three-team deal with the Dodgers and White Sox while acquiring right-handed prospect Trevor Oaks and infielder Erick Mejia.

Alexander, 28, pitched in 58 games with the Royals last season and posted a 2.48 ERA. He was sent to the Dodgers.

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"I'm really going to miss Kansas City and the fans," Alexander told MLB.com. "I wish I could have done better when they were rising to the World Series. But I'm so thankful to the organization. It's all I've known since I was 20 years old."

Video: Oaks discusses being traded to Royals

Soria was in the final year of a three-year, $25 million deal and was owed $10 million. He was sent to the White Sox. A source told MLB.com that the Royals only had to pick up his $1 million buyout for 2019; thus the Royals saved $9 million on payroll by trading him. Soria had a 3.70 ERA in 59 games last season.

"It was hard to let those guys go," Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com. "But it's the process we're in."

Oaks, 24, was immediately added to the Royals' 40-man roster and Moore said he expects him to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training.

Oaks pitched for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City in 2017, going 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA over 15 starts and one relief appearance. He allowed only 18 walks in 84 innings while striking out 72. Oaks was the Dodgers' seventh-round pick in the 2014 Draft out of California Baptist University and was No. 14 on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list of Dodgers prospects.

Oaks recently was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

"As you know, the Dodgers have a pretty deep system and yet they thought to protect him," Moore said. "We believe he is a guy with great makeup and is a great competitor who can compete for a spot in our rotation."

Video: Royals adds potential starters in Oaks, Mejia

Mejia, 23, is a switch-hitting middle infielder who can play outfield, though Moore indicated the Royals likely will keep Mejia on the infield for now. He played mostly at Double-A Tulsa last season and hit .289 with 17 doubles, three triples and seven home runs while stealing 25 bases in 29 attempts.

"He's a guy who fits our makeup of players," Moore said. "He's a plus-plus runner who is a good defender. We've got a guy in Nicky Lopez and he is somewhat like him."

Soria had seven blown saves last season but also had 20 holds in an up-and-down season.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

 

Kansas City Royals, Erick Mejia, Trevor Oaks