Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

Royals’ Yost not making predictions

You won’t find Royals manager Ned Yost listening to radio, watching TV, reading baseball annual or even reading MLB.com to see what the so-called experts are saying his club will do in 2011.

“I don’t listen to ‘em. They’re a waste of time,” Yost said. “I don’t know what anybody said about anything, to be honest with you.”

In case you missed it, the Royals were champions of the Cactus League by winning percentage with a 20-10-1 record and had the best overall winning percentage (.667, not counting the tie) of all Major League clubs. The Giants won more games, finishing 23-12 with a .657 percentage. In the Grapefruit League, the Twins were best with a 20-12 record (.625).

–Dick Kaegel

Let’s get it started

The last time it counted – 149 days ago to be exact – Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz swinging to give the Giants their first World Series title since 1954.

Hot Stove season came and went. Spring Training games were played.

Now, it’s time for a new season.

Opening Day 2011 features six matchups (all times ET): Braves-Nationals at 1:05 p.m.; Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m.; Brewers-Reds at 2:10 p.m.; Angels-Royals at 4:10 p.m.; Padres-Cardinals at 4:15 p.m.; and Giants-Dodgers at 8 p.m. in the ESPN Opening Night game.

The Giants begin their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees, and the first in the NL to repeat since the 1975-76 Reds. But the Phillies added Cliff Lee, giving them a philthy rotation that could be the best in MLB history. Over in the AL, the Red Sox added some serious firepower in the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

The 27 other MLB clubs begin today with the same record, the same hopes, the same dreams.  Follow us all day as we chronicle the dawn of a new season, from the first pitch on the East Coast, to the last out in SoCal. Who will rise in October? Buckle up and enjoy The Show.

Roundup: O’Day agrees to deal, avoids arbitration

Another trip to arbitration was avoided on Sunday as the Rangers reached a deal with reliever Darren O’Day for 2011.
O’Day will earn $1.251 million dollars in 2011, roughly halfway between the two parties’ figures. O’Day filed for arbitration seeking $1.4 million, while the Rangers submitted a potential salary of $1.05 million.
The right-hander earned a significant raise in his first season of arbitration eligibility after putting up impressive numbers in ’10. O’Day registered a 2.03 ERA and allowed just 12 walks in 62 innings last season. 
With O’Day taken care of, the Rangers still have two arbitration-eligible players in outfielder Josh Hamilton and right-hander Frank Francisco.
Here’s a look at some news and notes from around the league on Sunday:
- Royals first baseman Billy Butler will make $3 million this season, plus a $2 million signing bonus, as part of the four-year extension he agreed to with the club on Saturday, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweeted on Sunday. Butler will then make $8 million from 2012-14. The club also holds a $12.5 million option for the 2015 season as part of the deal, with a $1 million buyout.
- Regardless of where the Red Sox sit in the standings, closer Jonathan Papelbon won’t be off limits for possible trades, a team source confirmed to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. 
- Following up with yesterday’s Vladimir Guerrero rumors, SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the O’s haven’t talked with the veteran in two weeks. There have been several conflicting reports over the Orioles’ progress with Guerrero in recent days, but it seems the slugger’s options are fairly limited at this point.
–Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Billy Butler locked up in Kansas City

Already once this offseason, the Royals were a Hot Stove headliner. That was last month, when they bid farewell to their ace, Zack Greinke.

 

This time, they’ve topped the day for the talent they’re keeping not letting go.

First baseman Billy Butler has signed a four-year, $30 million contract extension, both sides announced Saturday. Butler, 25-years-old in April, was arbitration eligible and hit .318 with 15 home runs, a .388 on-base percentage and a .469 slugging percentage in 2010.

“I just get to worry about playing baseball, and it’s what’s best for me and my family,” Butler said. “That’s what it’s all about. I didn’t want to have to worry about going to arbitration every year, and this is where I want to be. The city’s great, and we love it here. I can’t express how happy we are right now.”

Another Royals corner infielder (and DH) for so long — 13 years of his 16 big league years — Mike Sweeney has told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel that he’ll have a decision on his playing future by next Sunday.

Sweeney, 37, made the playoffs for the first time in his career last season with Philadelphia and singled in his lone at-bat. He’s a career .297 hitter who batted .252 between the Mariners and Phils last season.

“I made it clear to my agents that the only way I’m going to play this year is if a contending team offered me a guaranteed deal — and I told them the chance of that happening is next to none,” Sweeney said. “But that’s the criteria I set for them.”

Elsewhere around the league:

? Orioles president Andy MacPhail shot down reports that the Orioles were closing to signing Vladimir Guerrero, although the club is interested. “[The] report is not accurate,” MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli via email.

? Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said that a trade of Armando Galarraga, who has been designated for assignment, is likely by next week. “We’re making some progress on some trade talks at this point,” Dombrowski said. “Not quite sufficient to make any announcements, but I would think by the middle of next week we would be in a position where we would make a deal.”

? Right-hander Jason Hammel is back with the Rockies, signing a two-year, $7.75 million contract on Saturday to avoid two of his three years of arbitration. The 28-year-old is 20-17 with a 4.57 ERA since joining the Rockies in a trade with the Rays in 2009.

? The Giants signed their lone remaining arbitration candidate to a one-year deal. Outfielder Andres Torres is believed to have received $2.1 million. He played for $426,000 last year. The switch-hitter turns 33 on Wednesday.

? SportsIllustrated reported on Twitter that a friend of the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, Jose Carlos Thompson, has signed with the Astros for $250,000. Thompson attended junior college at Western Oklahoma, and the school’s website lists his hometown as Woburn, Mass.

Butler snags four-year, $30-million deal with Royals

Billy Butler and the Royals have agreed to a four-year, $30-million contract extension, the first baseman said Saturday.

The multi-year contract avoids salary arbitration and gives Butler the security of a long-term deal through 2014.

“I just get to worry about playing baseball and it’s what’s best for me and my family,” Butler said. “That’s what it’s all about. I didn’t want to have to worry about going to arbitration every year and this where I want to be. The city’s great and we love it here. I can’t express how happy we are right now.”

Butler had filed in arbitration for $4.3 million and the Royals offered $3.4 million. Now that’s off the table.

His new deal was worked out by agent Greg Genske of Legacy Sports with Royals general manager Dayton Moore.

“It worked out for both sides,” Butler said. “I’ve always been happy to be a Royal. We have a lot of young guys coming up and we plan on doing great things. It just means I’m a big part of it.”

Butler, his wife Katie and their daughter Kenley live in Idaho Falls where Butler made his pro debut in 2004 with a rousing .373 average. He was in Kansas City for the Royals FanFest.

“It’s just what’s best for your family,” Butler said. “We’re happy to be done with it and Dayton and the whole organization were great.”

Butler on Saturday was to receive the Royals Player of the Year Award for the second straight time after setting new career highs in several categories, including average (.318), hits (189), walks (69) and on-base percentage (.388).
Dick Kaegel.

Davies signs with Royals, avoids arbitration

Right-hander Kyle Davies, expected to step it up as part of the Royals’ rotation this year, signed a one-year contract for 2011 on Tuesday and avoided salary arbitration.

Davies signed for $3.2 million, a sizable increase over the $1.8 million he earned last year.

That leaves first baseman Billy Butler as the Royals’ only arbitration-eligible player unsigned.

Davies made a career-high 32 starts last season, just one fewer than staff leader Zack Greinke and posted an 8-12 record with a 5.34 ERA. Now Davies is tasked with helping to fill the void left by Greinke’s trade to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Dick Kaegel.

Roundup: Thome returns to Twins, helps get Pavano

We are now exactly one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, but there is offseason work to be done. And several teams were busy on Friday.

The Twins made the most noise with one move, signing Jim Thome to a one-year, $3 million contract that includes performance incentives based on plate appearances. Now, not only do they have a productive, veteran lefty slugger — one who was critical for them while Justin Morneau went down for the final three months of the season — but they may have a nice recruiting chip.

Thome is back, but the Twins still want to resign right-handed starter Carl Pavano, who was big for the Twins rotation behind staff ace Francisco Liriano. Thome, of course, feels the same way. So on Friday, while addressing his own new contract, he said: “Trust me, when I get off the phone with you [reporters], I will definitely be recruiting him and be sending him some text messages.”

General manager Paul Smith said the Twins are continuing in their negotiations with Pavano’s representation and hope to get a decision one way or another next week. Bringing back Thome certaintly can’t hurt their chances.

Here’s more from around the league Friday…

* The Athletics beefed up a bullpen that was already brimming with talented young arms, signing righty Grant Balfour to a two-year deal
with a third-year club option. According to The Associated Press,
Balfour is guaranteed $3.75 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012.

* The Royals helped their thin rotation, signing left-hander Jeff Francis to a one-year contract that’s worth $2 million and includes performance bonuses.

* The Nationals introduced first baseman Adam LaRoche at a Friday afternoon

news conference at Nationals Park. It came after the two sides agreed
to terms a two-year deal worth about $16 million last week.

* The Mets and Cardinals dished out a few interesting Minor League contracts. New York inked Willie Harris, who’s all but guaranteed to be the backup outfielder and get somewhere between 250 and 400 plate appearances. St. Louis, meanwhile, brought in right-handers Miguel Batista and Ian Snell.

– Alden Gonzalez   

Royals sign LHP Francis to 1-year contract

The Royals and Jeff Francis have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reported via Twitter on Friday. Francis, whose deal is reportedly pending a physical, is expected to join Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan in Kansas City’s starting rotation.

The 30-year-old left-hander went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for the Rockies in 2010, before Colorado declined its $7 million 2011 option on him in November.

Francis led the Rockies to their only World Series appearance in 2007 by winning a then-franchise record-tying 17 games. He then missed the 2009 season because of shoulder surgery.

The Rockies’ No. 9 overall Draft choice in 2002 is 55-50 with a 4.77 ERA and a 2.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 150 games (149 starts) through his six-year career.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Roundup: Arbitration looms for some clubs

Spring Training may be fast approaching, but some clubs still have some important business to take care of with pending arbitration cases in the pipeline.
Next Tuesday, clubs will exchange numbers with arbitration-eligible players leading up to the actual hearings next month. Since it’s fairly rare for clubs and players to go all the way through arbitration, there figures to be a good number of agreements in the coming days. 
A few teams avoided arbitration on Wednesday, as the Cubs inked Koyie Hill to a one-year deal and the Tigers signed left fielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year deal. Raburn, 29, has played a sort of super utility role for Detroit in recent years, but he appears in line to grab a lot of the playing time in left field this season, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. 
The 31-year-old Hill agreed to a contract worth $850,000, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reported on Wednesday. Hill started 60 games for the Cubs last season and batted .214 with 13 doubles. 

- – The Angels agreed to terms on a 2011 contract with catcher Jeff Mathis, thus avoiding arbitration.
 

Mathis, 27, spent his third full season with the Angels in 2010, batting .195 with 19 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, 3 home runs and 18 RBI in 68 games played. After missing 55 games because of broken wrist, Mathis put together a 13-game hit streak from April 5 – June 22, matching the longest streak by an Angel last season.
 
Mathis is the second Angel to agree to terms and avoid arbitration, leaving the Angels with six remaining arbitration-eligible players (Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver and Reggie Willits).
 
- The Rockies avoided salary arbitration with right-handed reliever Matt Belisle on $2.35 million, according to SI.com. After spending the first five years of his Major League career with the Reds, the 30-year-old Belisle had a career season in his second campaign with the Rockies in 2010. He posted a 2.93 ERA in a career-high relief 76 appearances, averaging 8.9 strikeouts ever nine innings, posting a 7-5 record.
 
- The Royals erased one potential salary arbitration case, signing right-hander Luke Hochevar to a one-year contract. Hochevar, who figures to be the staff ace, had his 2010 season interrupted by a strain in his right elbow, which restricted him to a 6-6 record and 4.81 ERA over 18 games (17 starts).

In addition the latest arbitration news, here’s a look around the rest of the league on Wednesday:

 
- Even after adding Cliff Lee, the Phillies could be looking for even more pitching insurance. The Phils have talked to starter John Maine about joining their already deep staff, ESPN New York.com reported on Wednesday, citing Maine’s agent, Rex Gary. 
- The Mets made their Minor League deal with left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley official on Wednesday. Tankersley’s deal includes an invite to Spring Training. Tankersley, who will be 28 by Opening Day, could fill the Mets need for a lefty specialist.
- The Rays have agreed to terms with veteran right-hander Kyle Farnesworth, according to multiple media reports. A baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that a deal was “expected” at this point. The one-year deal will reportedly pay Farnesworth $3.25 million and includes a 2012 option.
- The Cubs also inked outfielder Reed Johnson to Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite on Wednesday. Johnson returns to the Cubs after a season with Dodgers and will battle for a roster spot this spring.
– Bailey Stephens

Roundup: Trade winds blow Garza to Windy City

Now the starting-pitching market is really dry.

Teams still looking for quality, front-line starters (i.e., the Yankees) now have to get much more creative, because Matt Garza — seemingly the last big-name arm for the taking, if you buy into recent reports — appears headed to Chicago. The Rays dealt Garza, who was in his second year of arbitration and would receive a raise from his $3.35 million salary, to the Cubs in exchange for five Minor Leaguers on Friday.

Club officials haven’t confirmed the deal, but sources told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat that the framework is in place for the Cubs to send 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Chris Archer, 2010 Player of the Year Brandon Guyer (an outfielder), shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld.

The Cubs would also get two Minor Leaguers from the Rays, and according to the Daily Herald, one of those is outfielder Fernando Perez, who played in 107 Minor League games this past season.

The Rays had a surplus of starting pitchers — with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and James Shields also in the fold — and could afford to deal one, though trading a guy like Garza always hurts. With Garza, the Cubs appear to be premier contenders in a stacked National League Central. He’ll be added to a rotation that includes Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.

Here’s more from around the league …

* When Adrian Beltre signed with the Rangers, closer Rafael Soriano instantly became the best free agent left in the open market. The question is: Where does he fit? FOXSports.com speculated that the Angels are the ideal fit, but added that the Rangers and White Sox — unless the price goes way down — are not going after the American League leader in saves. Other than that, not much seems to have materialized yet. 

* The Yankees, meanwhile, have been rumored to be interested in Soriano as a setup man, but ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported via his Twitter account that as of Thursday night, the Yanks weren’t interested. The fact general manager Brian Cashman told the Journal News he isn’t willing to surrender any first-round Draft picks makes the signing of Soriano (a Type A free agent) seem even more unlikely. 

* Speaking of the Yankees, Andy Pettitte told The New York Post from his home that he’s still not sure whether he’ll retire or come back. “I’m just chilling out, hanging,” he told the newspaper. “I’m relaxing. If I had something, y’all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y’all would know.” Pettitte continues to stress that the Yankees should move on and not worry about him, and the organization has said just that. But it sure does seem like they need him.

* All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is “leaning towards retiring,” Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network reported via Twitter. The 43-year-old right-hander had a 5.89 ERA and 10 saves with the Brewers in 2010, giving him 601 saves for his probable Hall of Fame career.

* In other news, former Royals starter Brian Bannister will pitch in Japan this season; the Rangers designated right-hander Guillermo Moscoso for assignment; and longtime Twins executive Jerry Bell retired

– Alden Gonzalez

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