I keep talking about Bobby Witt Jr. not having played in the minor leagues, but today I was reminded that he has already. He was drafted in 2019. I keep thinking it was last year. So Witt has played 37 games for the Royals rookie league team. Ok, so my thought of him going to the majors without playing a minor league team is dead before it can happen. Regardless, it’s about time for him to be in the major leagues.
Seattle Mariners 6, Kansas City Royals 3 (Box Score)
2:05pm – MLBST – Cincinnati Reds at Kansas City Royals (FSKC, MLB.com)
5:30pm – CBB – Kansas State vs TCU (ESPN)
Kansas Shorthanded For Big 12 Tournament
David McCormack and Tristian Enaruna will not play in the Big 12 tournament because of the covid. They are both expected to return to the team next weekend for the NCAA tournament. Apparently, those two players are roommates. There was apparently never a concern of any other players missing the conference tournament.
So what does this mean for Kansas? In the short term, it means Kansas is not cutting down the nets in the conference tournament. The odds were against them anyway, even though they are the #2 seed in the tournament, but I cannot see them winning it without McCormack.
In the longer term, for the NCAA tournament, it might actually help a little. Mitch Lightfoot will get a lot more playing time, and Kansas will also go with its small lineup more. It will be interesting to see how much they can do with that small lineup, and maybe it will give Bill Self confidence to go to it in the NCAA tournament.
Les Miles Firing
We got some information from Kansas athletic director Jeff Long on Monday regarding the firing of Les Miles. Most reports say that Kansas and Miles mutually agreed to part ways, but I guarantee you that Miles would continue coaching if he could. This was a firing.
In the separation, Kansas agreed to pay Les Miles approximately $1.9 million. This will be paid in monthly installments over the rest of 2021. Miles’ contract ran through the 2023 season and had around $8 million left on it.
Jeff Long met with the team late on Monday to inform them of the decision to let Miles go. He is still in the process of determining who will be the interim coach while a search is ongoing.
Long said that he performed multiple background searches when he hired Les Miles. He also asked Les Miles directly whether he had anything in his past that would embarrass Kansas. He said that he also spoke with LSU administrators.
There are a lot of people who are questioning whether Jeff Long should be fired as well. He hired his friend Les Miles with so little interest in anyone else that he had an ESPN camera crew with Miles as the process was unfolding. In his defense, he brought in a national championship coach. It wasn’t a bad resume.
But now we look forward to who the next coach of the Jayhawks will be. I really believe that the roster improved under Les Miles. The next coach needs to continue improving the roster. We don’t know how long the search will take, but I have to think it will be done within the next week or two. Right now, the number one thing is for the football program to hold on to the players they currently have so they don’t take two steps back after taking a step forward under Miles.
It might be surprising to some when you watch the Chiefs’ offense (except in the Super Bowl), but receiver is one of the positions they will be looking to add to this offseason. On Tuesday, they addressed the position some by re-signing Marcus Kemp. Kemp is added to a group led by Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson are unrestricted free agents. Byron Pringle is a restricted free agent. Others in the group are Gehrig Dieter, of course, Jody Fortson, and Maurice Ffrench.
Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece inThe Athletic Tuesday in which he discusses a couple of Royals players.
Rosenthal says that Hunter Dozier’s recent contract extension would normally be seen as club-friendly. But Dozier is older than most players when he would reach free agency. Dozier took the guaranteed money now to set his family up for life in exchange for giving the Royals a $10 million club option on the back end of the contract.
Rosenthal also asked a scout recently which players stood out to him early in spring training. The scout told him Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. When Rosenthal asked what about Witt stood out, the scout replied, “Everything, Stud. Hit, run, power, it’s real.”
Duffy Struggles In Spring Start
Danny Duffy got the start against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, and it didn’t go well at all. Duffy allowed five runs on six hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out nobody and allowed two home runs. Duffy allowed one run on two hits and two walks in two innings in his first appearance.
Duffy and Kris Bubic are opening the door for other options in the rotation. Mike Minor, Brad Keller, and Brady Singer appear to be locked in the rotation at this time. Danny Duffy and Kris Bubic were thought to be the other two penciled in, but both are off to rough starts in the spring. Meanwhile, Jakob Junis has been terrific. With two projected starters struggling, Junis just needs to keep pitching well this spring, and his chances to be in the rotation look pretty good.
I have to remind people that spring statistics are meaningless for the most part, especially for batters. I think the numbers for pitchers mean something when people are battling for a spot in the rotation. However, people like Mike Minor and Brad Keller are just working on their stuff to be ready when the season starts. So, the value of spring stats do vary based on the person and situation. I would say it’s pretty important for Duffy, Bubic, and Junis, and right now, Junis is the best of the three. But again, there is a long way to go.
NFL Salary Cap Impact
The expected decrease in the salary cap for 2021 is causing teams to cut players and for some players to accept reduced salaries to stay with their team. Buffalo Bills center Mitch Morse agree to a $2 million reduction in salary to stay with the Bills.
In Other News
The Oakland Raiders worked out a trade that will send OT Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. The two teams will swap draft picks in 2022. Trent Brown agreed to a new one-year, $11 million contract as part of the deal. Brown will be a free agent after the 2021 season.
Why Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. worked with Patrick Mahomes’ trainer (Alec Lewis)
Thanks for reading…