Do you ever feel like the sports news won’t stop? I feel that way right now, and I love it! We have so much going on. That’s why I am here. Let’s catch up on the latest…
Kansas City Royals 6, San Francisco Giants 1 (Box Score)
8:05pm – MLBST – Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals (FSKC, 610AM)
Andrew Benintendi was kept out of Monday’s game for precautionary reasons because of lower back soreness in the morning. This isn’t expected to be serious, but any time you are dealing with back issues, it’s concerning. Hopefully, this will pass in a day or two, and he will have a healthy 2021.
We learned on Monday why RHP Josh Staumont was late to arrive at spring training. He came down with the covid shortly before camp. Staumont lost weight, had a high fever and was very fatigued. Since arriving at camp, he has not just been working on pitching but also on simply getting healthy.
The Royals made a few moves on Monday. They optioned INF Lucius Fox, INF Kelvin Gutierrez, and OF Nick Heath to Triple-A Omaha. If my math is correct, that leaves 37 players in major league camp.
Danny Duffy finally shined in a 2021 spring training game after two rough outings. Monday, he faced the San Francisco Giants and pitched four perfect innings with four strikeouts. This spring is a microcosm of what life is with Danny Duffy on your team. His first outing was a two-inning appearance in which he allowed one run. His next outing was three innings in which Duffy allowed six hits and five runs. And then there was Monday. Four innings of perfection. Yes, if you are new to being a Royals fan, this is Danny Duffy. This is why I always say if he gets off to a good start and you can trade him for just about anything that will help the club, you should do it. He won’t be that good for long.
What Does Wander Franco’s Demotion Mean About Bobby Witt?
The Tampa Bay Rays sent Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball, to minor league camp Monday. What does that have to do with the Royals, you ask? It is my position that if the Royals are serious about winning in 2021, they need to have Bobby Witt Jr. starting at some position in 2021. I was straddling the fence on this position just the other day, and you know how painful that can be, but now I think I am all in. At this point, his starting position would likely be second base in place of Nicky Lopez.
I rarely push for a player to be moved so quickly to the major leagues. And people against this idea will argue that even the player thought to be the best prospect in baseball, Wander Franco, is being sent to the minors, so Witt should be as well. But there is a huge difference between these two players.
The Tampa Bay Rays were in the World Series last year. They have a lot of talent on the club already. Franco is not needed on the Rays for the team to make a World Series. We saw that last year.
The Royals, however, were awful last year. They are trying to build a contender this season. And the Royals have a starting second baseman, Nicky Lopez, who struggles on offense but is a great fielder and would fit in nicely as a utility man. And as good as the Royals believe Lopez is defensively, Witt doesn’t appear to be a drop-off in talent in the field.
And maybe the biggest difference between Witt and Franco is that Bobby Witt has been around professional baseball his entire life. He has an idea of what it is all about. If either one of these two players struggles in their rookie season, I worry less about Bobby Witt being able to turn his season around because of having been around the game for so long. Add to that, Witt is almost a year older than Franco.
And I know this won’t be a popular argument, but with a new CBA coming soon, the length of time a team can control a player before he becomes a free agent will likely change. It could end up being an age-based system instead of something based on years of control. In that case, there is absolutely no reason to hold players back because of service time concerns. Now, I would not make the move because of this, but it is interesting to think that delaying his arrival might do nothing to how long the Royals can keep him.
But the biggest reason I think the Royals should keep Bobby Witt with the major league club is that Dayton Moore and Mike Matheny said they are trying to win now. And when you are trying to win and need to improve as much as the Royals need to improve from last season, you don’t turn down a player who is already better at the plate than many of the others we know will be on the team.
Bobby Witt is better than Nicky Lopez at the plate. That’s easy. But he’s better than Adalberto Mondesi as well. And there’s more. Witt looks like a veteran at-bat. His 12-pitch walk Sunday night against Julio Urias was an example of what I mean. The kid is advanced for his age.
The major league players on the club are in awe of what the kid can do at such a young age. Yes, there is a chance he will fall on his face and be ruined forever. I think that chance is about 1%. There is also a chance that he will be the rookie of the year and help lead the Royals to the playoffs. I don’t know what that percentage chance is, but it’s higher than 1%, and probably by far.
So, I don’t care what Tampa Bay is doing with Wander Franco. And I don’t care if Witt will reach free agency a year earlier if they start him in the majors this year. I want the Royals to put their money where their mouth is. They cannot say they are serious about winning and then withhold a player like Bobby Witt from the club. The other players won’t like that message. If the Royals are really serious about winning, Bobby Witt must make the club out of spring training and start somewhere every day.
The Chiefs are reportedly going to have more than $20 million in cap space after they restructure the contracts of QB Patrick Mahomes, DL Chris Jones and TE Travis Kelce. The new league year starts on Wednesday. The Chiefs will be looking at add offensive lineman, among other positions, at that time.
The Chiefs agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract with New England Patriots’ OL Joe Thuney. Thuney is a former All-Pro and is a two-time Super Bowl champ. The deal essentially guarantees $48 million of the first three years of the contract. Thuney allowed just two sacks in 2020, one in 2019, and none in 2018. In 2019, Thuney went 16 consecutive games without a penalty. So, the Chiefs have a guard to help the offensive line. I still expect them to sign a quality left tackle as well. They are reportedly interested in San Francisco 49ers OT Trent Williams. The league would flip its lid if they got him as well.
And think about it. If Sammy Watkins is leaving, and the receiver group takes a small step back, what will make this team even harder to stop on offense? Of course, it’s giving Patrick Mahomes more time to find the receivers he does have. It’s almost unfair even thinking about it.
Kansas’ Jalen Wilson Out
We think we finally know which Kansas Jayhawks player tested positive for the covid. Jalen Wilson did not join his teammates on the trip to Indianapolis on Monday, so he is likely the player who will miss at least the first game of the NCAA tournament and probably the first two games unless he got over it very quickly. We don’t know any more details than that at this time.
MLB Allows Video Review In-Game
Major League Baseball will allow players to review video in the dugout on iPads this season. There has not been a change that allows the Houston Astros to signal pitches with trash cans.
Kansas State Loses Sophomore Forward
Sophomore forward Antonio Gordon entered the transfer portal and will leave Kansas State. Bruce Weber has talked a few times recently about keeping the team together for next season. As soon as he started talking like that, I thought we should expect some transfers. It was almost like he was begging players to stay. That was a clear sign that something could happen. And now it has. Gordon will be playing elsewhere next season. That hurts the Wildcats. Any loss of players will hurt this team more than most. They are at a fragile point. The number of transfers this season might determine whether Bruce Weber is back for or after next season.
College Basketball Coaching Changes Start
I hate this time of year for college basketball coaches. I understand that changes have to be made at times. Sometimes the results just aren’t there. Sometimes the results are the best they can be in a certain situation, but an athletic director needs to save their own job. Regardless, this time of year is always difficult, and I pull for the coaches let go to find themselves in a better situation soon. It’s about winning games, and I don’t have a problem with a school making a move when a coach has been given the time and resources to do the job, and it just hasn’t worked out. That happens. Unfortunately, there are a lot of coaches let go because of things they couldn’t control.
So the firings have started. Indiana fired its head basketball coach Archie Miller. Minnesota fired Richard Pitino. DePaul is firing Dave Leitao. Iowa State fired Steve Prohm.
The inspiration for Ted Lasso? Meet Jason Sudeikis’ Wooden-quoting Kansas high school coach (Rustin Dodd)
Thanks for reading…