With the Chiefs not playing until Monday evening, Sunday seems like a perfect day to caught up on a week's worth of Kansas City Royals news and notes.
Perhaps the biggest news of the previous week involved Royals television broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre. Lebfebvre, 40, who just finished his 13th season with the Royals is thought to be a frontrunner to be the next voice of the Minnesota Twins. He came to the Royals from Minnesota were he worked for four season with the Twins. Lefebvre is also an alum of the University of Minnesota, located in the Twin Cities.
While I've gotten very used to seeing Lefebvre on Royals broadcasts, you certainly can't fault the guy for going back to a place he is very familiar with. If Lefebvre were to leave for Minnesota, I wouldn't be nearly as depressed as I will be when Denny Matthews eventually announces his retirement.
The free agency period officially began on Saturday evening and according to Royals general manager Dayton Moore, it appears the Royals will not be looking to spend wild amounts of money on starting pitching. There had been various rumors that the Royals were interested in both Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson. This certainly should dampen some of the optimism some fans have had, though I figured either scenario was as likely as me winning powerball.
It may seem like a relatively quiet off-season as the Royals have the core of their roster set, but the focus likely will be in trying to acquire starting rotation depth through a trade.
In the first official moves of the off-season, three Royals have elected to become free agents. Pitchers Bruce Chen and Jeff Francis will test the market as will catcher Jason Kendall. Of the trio, Bruce Chen is the player Kansas City fans would most likely welcome back in 2012 as a member of the Royals.
On the flip side, Kansas City has agreed to terms with seven minor leaguers on contracts to return next season. The most notable of the seven may be either pitcher Mario Santiago or infielder John Whittleman. Santiago, 26, was 8-3 with a 3.70 ERA between AA and AAA during 2011, while Whittleman hit .234 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI for Wilmington (A+) as a 24-year old.
On Thursday, you will want to turn your attention to MLB Network at 7 pm (CST), as Eric Hosmer is a nominee for the Players Choice Award as Rookie of the Year. The Player Choice Awards are simply that, players win based on voting by their peers. The other rookie nominees in the American League are Mark Trumbo of the Angels and Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays.
In other awards to be given out this off-season, theee Royals players have been nominated for the Gibby Awards. This one is a fan vote and Hosmer is again up for Rookie of the Year. In addition, Jeff Francouer is a nominee for Defensive Player of the Year, while Melky Cabrera is in the running for Breakout Player of the Year. You can vote here. Voting runs through December 4th.
If you are already needing a baseball fix, this week MLB Network will be airing the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series, a set of five games featuring some of the top major league players against the Chinese Taipei National Team. You can read all the details here.
Lastly, Royals fan Clint Scoles recently visited the Royals instructional league in Arizona and wrote a report of what he saw on Pine Tar Press. He included some notes on Royals prospects that fans may just be learning about such as Terrance Gore.