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Author Topic:   KC Royals - 2006
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From:Studio City, CA
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posted December 23, 2005 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jpgordo   Click Here to Email jpgordo     Edit/Delete Message
Sanders: Royals had a game plan

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- news services

The Kansas City Royals actually outbid teams to sign Reggie Sanders, the outfielder told The Kansas City Star.

He told the paper Thursday that he had agreed to a two-year contract worth about $10 million, that could be signed Friday pending results of a physical.
"The Royals stepped up to the plate and did what they had to do," Sanders said. "Other teams were close. But the Royals went a little further."

The 38-year-old Sanders could provide much-needed offense to go along with what appears to be an improved Kansas City defense. He hit .271 with 21 home runs and 54 RBI in 295 at-bats last season for St. Louis, missing nearly two months after breaking his right leg in an outfield collision with Jim Edmonds.

Sanders had 10 RBI in the Cardinals' three-game sweep of San Diego in the first round of the playoffs, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs in the opener.

"They had a game plan," Sanders told the Star. "Kansas City wined and dined me at the beginning. We sat down for a good three hours talking about where they're going and what they're trying to do. I needed to be the last piece of the puzzle. If I sign early, I'm left out to dry, no matter how much money I'm making. Now I see they got [Mark Grudzielanek], they got all these guys."

Kansas City lacked production from its corner outfielders last season, when the Royals finished a major league-worst 56-106.

"I think he would be a pretty good addition to our club," Royals GM Allard Baird said Thursday. "But until everything is set, I just don't want to speculate."

Sanders broke in with Cincinnati in 1991 and since 1998 has played for Cincinnati, San Diego, Atlanta, Arizona, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and the Cardinals. A career .267 hitter with 292 home runs and 923 RBI, he is projected as a right fielder by the Royals.

It has already been a busy offseason for Baird, who has signed free agent infielders Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz, pitcher Scott Elarton and backup catcher Paul Bako.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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posted March 29, 2006 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kcchief   Click Here to Email kcchief     Edit/Delete Message
SI is predicting the Royals will be the worst team in the league... again.
Lots of changes were made, but not necessarily for the better

Several variations on the same theme have been voiced by the Royals this spring. For instance: "For us to win, the starters have to give us six or seven consistent innings," says righthander Scott Elarton, who happens to be one of those starters. "We don't pitch [well], we won't win."

"We're going to catch the ball and we've got a strong bullpen," second baseman Mark Grudzielanek says. "If our starters can get us into the sixth or seventh inning, we're going to be a good ball club."

"Last year, we burned the bullpen by making them throw too many innings," says general manager Allard Baird. "Our starters have to get us deeper into games."

But how exactly is that supposed to happen? Last year the Kansas City staff had the highest ERA (5.49) in the majors, more than a third of a run higher than even Colorado's. This season the pitching could be worse. Hard-throwing 22-year-old Zack Greinke, who was being groomed to be the linchpin of the rotation, left spring training in the first week for personal reasons, and there's no timetable for his return. According to a baseball source, Greinke -- who was given permission by the club to take a leave -- has lost his love for the game and is deciding whether he wants to play anymore.

Another blow to the staff came in December, when free-agent righthander Paul Byrd, a 35-year-old workhorse, spurned a three-year, $21 million offer to return to Kansas City, where he pitched in 2001 and '02. Instead, Byrd took a two-year deal worth $14.25 million from the Indians. "It was really hard to say no to the Royals because I like Allard," says Byrd. "But I just didn't feel like at this stage of the game they could win. Cleveland is ready to win now."

Stinging words, but true. That left Baird with having to settle for Elarton as his primary addition to the staff. A back-of-the-rotation guy anywhere else, Elarton, 30, is the No. 1 starter in K.C. After winning 17 games for the Astros in 2000, he has cracked double digits in only one season since. His chief competition for the lead spot in the rotation had been Runelvys Hernandez, 27, who led the Royals in victories last season (eight) but reported to spring training overweight and is now the fifth starter. Righthander Joe Mays, a free-agent pickup from Minnesota, was hit hard in the spring, but will be the second starter only because 32-year-old lefty Mark Redman (1-12 after June 30 with the Pirates) is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out until May. "It's no secret," Baird says. "Our starting pitching will make or break us."

Through the free-agent market, the G.M. also acquired three veteran every-day players -- Grudzielanek, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and outfielder Reggie Sanders -- who he thinks will be a positive clubhouse influence no matter how bad things get. With his eighth team in nine years, Sanders, 38, is still good enough to hit third for this team, and he has taken leftfielder Emil Brown, who had a breakout year in '05 (17 homers, 86 RBI, .804 OPS) under his wing. "I tell him it's better to do something right for five minutes than to work hard doing something wrong," says Sanders. "There are a lot of players here willing to listen and learn." Sanders has averaged 26 home runs per season since 2001 and provides some much-needed support for DH Mike Sweeney in the middle of a lineup that had the league's lowest home run total (126) and second-worst on-base percentage (.320) last season.

The addition of Grudzielanek and Mientkiewicz is a definite upgrade for the right side of the infield; they should help erase Kansas City's distinction of having committed a league-high 125 errors last year. Instead, the Royals could wind up leading the AL in clubhouse meetings. Baird believes Grudzielanek, Mientkiewicz and Sanders -- all of whom have been to the playoffs at least once in the last two seasons -- will leave an important imprint on the younger players. "We will not sit back and get used to losing," Grudzielanek promises. "We're fiery guys. I guarantee you we will not accept being a mediocre team. If we start looking like one, we'll fight against it all year." -- Peter King

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posted June 06, 2006 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kcchief   Click Here to Email kcchief     Edit/Delete Message
Kansas City selects right-hander Hochevar with No. 1 pick

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer
June 6, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hard-throwing righty Luke Hochevar, back in the draft after failing to reach a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was selected by the Kansas City Royals with the No. 1 pick Tuesday.

Taken by the Dodgers as the 40th overall pick out of the University of Tennessee last year, Hochevar (pronounced HO-chay-vur) and agent Scott Boras did not sign. The 6-foot-5 pitcher had been staying in shape by playing for the independent Fort Worth Cats, and is still working with Boras.


Hochevar was 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in four starts with the Cats, and flashed the stuff -- a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, a late-breaking slider and knee-buckling curve -- that made him such a top commodity last year.

Hochevar, a Golden Spikes finalist in 2005, is the first right-hander to go No. 1 overall since Pittsburgh took Ball State's Bryan Bullington in 2002.

Kansas City had the top pick for the first time in team history. The Royals' previous highest selection was No. 2 last year, when they took Nebraska third baseman Alex Gordon.

The two-day draft will go 50 rounds. Not every team is required to pick through the duration.

Colorado selected Stanford 6-foot-7 righty Greg Reynolds with the second overall pick. The Cardinal ace is 6-5 with a 3.36 ERA, and has excellent command of 94-95 mph fastball late into games. Reynolds became a top prospect with two excellent summers in the Cape Cod League.

Making far from a desperate pick, Tampa Bay took Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria -- not related to "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria -- and signed him moments after selecting him. Generally considered the best college position player in the draft, he was the MVP of the Cape Cod League last summer and the co-Big West player of the year after hitting .353 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs.

Next, Pittsburgh selected Houston right-hander/first baseman Brad Lincoln, one of the country's top two-way players. He'll make his name in the pros on the mound, where he has a fastball that hits the mid-90s consistently through games, along with an outstanding curve and still-developing changeup.

California righty Brandon Morrow went fifth to Seattle. Morrow, who has one of the top-rated fastballs in the draft, is a Type I diabetic who checks his blood sugar between innings and wears a computerized pump hooked to the skin near his stomach to provide constant doses of insulin. Teams weren't concerned about health issues because Morrow has excelled at all levels while dealing with the condition.

North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller, who was considered by the Royals for the top pick, went sixth to Detroit. Miller, a Golden Spikes finalist and the Tar Heels' career strikeouts leader, was the highest-drafted unsigned player from 2003 (Tampa Bay, third round).

The Dodgers took Texas high school lefty Clayton Kershaw with the first of their two first-round picks, and selected Motlow State (Tenn.) C.C. righty Bryan Morris at No. 26. Morris was back in the draft after failing to reach an agreement with Arizona, which took him in last year's third round.

University of Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs went next to Cincinnati, followed by New Jersey high school infielder Billy Rowell to Baltimore. San Francisco rounded out the top 10 picks by taking Washington right-handed strikeout artist Tim Lincecum.

Arizona took Missouri righty Max Scherzer with the 11th pick; Texas selected Alabama high school lefty Kasey Kiker; the Chicago Cubs went with Clemson outfielder Tyler Colvin; and Toronto selected Washington high school outfielder Travis Snider. With its first two selections, Washington took Florida high school third baseman Chris Marrero at No. 15 and Florida high school righty Colton Willems at No. 22.

Virginia high school righty Jeremy Jeffress went next to Milwaukee, and San Diego took Wake Forest third baseman Matt Antonelli. Texas high school right-hander/shortstop Kyle Drabek, the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, was selected by Philadelphia.

Missouri State righty Brett Sinkbeil went to Florida; and Minnesota took California high school outfielder Chris Parmelee to cap the first 20 selections.

The New York Yankees then drafted Southern California right-hander Ian Kennedy.

At No. 23, Houston went with Florida high school catcher Max Sapp; followed by Florida high school outfielder John Johnson to Atlanta; and California high school catcher Hank Conger to the Los Angeles Angels.

Boston had two consecutive picks, taking South Carolina high school outfielder Jason Place and North Carolina right-hander Daniel Bard at Nos. 27 and 28.

The Chicago White Sox then took Texas righty Kyle McCulloch, the ace of last year's College World Series champions. Northeastern right-hander Adam Ottavino was the last pick of the first round, going to St. Louis at No. 30.

A total of 18 pitchers were taken in the first round, two shy of the record set in 1999 and tied in 2001.

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