The Royals skidded out of The North Star State on Thursday evening on their first losing streak of the season, a two-game spell that cost them their first series in 2015. The team is still 7-2, of course, and confidence is high. They will host Oakland this weekend, and that should be an emotional series for Billy Butler.
But first, let’s answer some questions.
In all likelihood, Salvador Perez won’t catch 140 games this year. But he might catch 135. Ned Yost insisted all winter and spring he needed to be more proactive in resting Perez. Through nine games, Perez has caught every single inning. He may get a day off on Sunday. But the club really can’t afford a repeat of 2014, when Perez effectively became a one-way player.
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(Erik was kind enough to correct his question to ask when Yost would begin playing Gordon in day games).
In the first week of the season, Yost estimated he would monitor Gordon like this for about a month. This is a moving target. It depends on how Gordon responds to the stress of the season, and how his bat looks. It’s easy to sit him when his batting average is below .100. If he heats up, Yost will have more confidence in testing that wrist.
This is your weekly reminder that it is far too early to say who will be removed from the roster when Luke Hochevar returns from the disabled list. There are too many variables at play — injuries, performance, Yost’s preferred size of the bullpen — to speculate with any accuracy.
Cole Hamels is a great pitcher. I would be stunned if the Royals pursued him seriously. Johnny Cueto makes more sense — except the acquisition cost would be high and the Royals believe they have a bevy of starting-pitching depth already.
A couple points, specifically, on Hamels:
1. The Phillies owe Hamels $76.5 million from 2016 to 2018. The Royals have never awarded a player a contract larger than $55 million. To acquire Hamels would require either a sudden change in spending philosophy from owner David Glass, or an organization-wide decision to allow players like Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Mike Moustakas and others to just walk in free agency. Kansas City wants to spend its money on its own talent.
2. In discussions with Boston regarding Hamels, the Phillies sought top prospects like Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart. Since Hamels is under contract through 2018, there is no incentive for Philadelphia to trade him until they receive an offer that matches their liking. The Royals do not have a position-player prospect of that caliber in their system. They do have Raul Mondesi, an excellent 19-year-old shortstop, and a decent crop of pitching prospects. But unless Kansas City makes an offer that overwhelms the Phillies, general manager Ruben Amaro can just hold onto Hamels and wait.
One slightly less relevant point on Hamels: He is 31, which is right around when these contracts tend to curdle. Johan Santana’s last good season was at 31. Same for CC Sabathia. Justin Verlander turned 31 last year. It’s junk science to draw a correlation between those pitchers and Hamels, but it’s still a reminder that these long-term contracts tend to implode on the back end. And Hamels is on the back end. He’s given up seven homers in two starts this season. He gave up 14 in 30 starts last year.
During spring training, Kuntz said he was shooting some instructional videos for youth players. I cannot wait until those are released.
Due to space constraints, The Star will no longer be running box scores in print. You can still read all our Royals coverage at www.kansascity.com/sports/royals. Seeing as how you found this mailbag, I assume you know how to find our coverage. But it never hurts to remind.
This is a great idea, and it gets my highest recommendation. If we can’t have New Radicals, we can at least have Whitney.
This is one of the few Roth novels I have not read. But I hope you sober up and read “American Pastoral.” Maybe I’ll stop by the library this weekend and get my Zuckerman on.
Seth Rollins is the best heel in WWE. I honestly don’t watch the product enough to know who can cut a good heel promo, but Rollins seems like a class unto himself.
Best finisher: It’s probably the RKO, even if Randy Orton is a boring performer.
I have covered a game at all 30 parks, which is awesome. A sadder realization is you’ve eaten a mediocre meal at most of those parks. Here is a ranking of all 30 press dining rooms:
1. Citizens Bank Park: The Gold Standard, as Philadelphia’s Jeffrey Lurie might say. I’ve never had a bad meal here. Start with an outstanding salad bar. There are bowls of fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. The hot food is tremendous. And there’s Turkey Hill ice cream, including the famous Graham Slam, all scooped by the legend, Frank.
2. Tropicana Field: The Trop is a gem. There are cold cuts, good soup and a decent daily array of deserts.
3. Kauffman Stadium: Call me a homer, if you want, but John and Andy do an excellent job. The salad bar is top-notch, and the entrees deliver.
4. Safeco Field: Reminds me a lot of Tropicana, only with a lesser salad bar.
5. Camden Yards: The entrees are pleasant, but the real treat is when they serve crab cakes.
6. Fenway Park: You can have a delightful peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a $12 fee. There’s also pizza that’s pretty mediocre, but still good, because it’s pizza.
7. Petco Park: The pasta bar is pretty reliable.
8. Marlins Park: A solid, eclectic mix. After games, at least in the park’s first season, they served batches of fried chicken.
9. Miller Park: The good news is they have a milkshake machine. The bad news is it is almost always broken.
10. Target Field: Pretty good!
11. Minute Maid Park: It’s unbearably unhealthy, but that’s never stopped me before.
12. Dodger Stadium: Decent salad bar, usually a few decent entrees. Plus, Dodger Dogs in the seventh inning.
13. Yankee Stadium: The quality has cratered since the park’s inception in 2009, but they still have fresh fruit.
14. Progressive Field: Good cold cuts and pickles. Pretzels, too. Pretzels are an underrated snack.
15. Nationals Park: They have a fine selection of grill items, including dynamite onion rings. Everything is horrible for your health.
16. AT&T Park: I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten here. There are so many delightful options on the concourse. So I’ll just put this one in the middle.
17. Globe Life Park: It’s starting to go downhill. More mediocre pizza, which is a good thing to eat when you feel like you don’t deserve anything better.
18. Chase Field: Hit or miss. The only salad dressing options are ranch and balsamic vinaigrette.
19. U.S. Cellular Field: It’s somewhere on the third level of the park, I think. I’ve only been there once. They get raised higher because the pressbox features an aggressively addictive snack mix. There are massive bushels of the stuff kept in cupboards up there. One day, I may steal one.
20. PNC Park: I feel like I had a solid Caesar salad here once or twice.
21. Turner Field: They have red velvet cake, sometimes.
22. Comerica Park: It looks passable, but I tend to dine at Leo’s, the Greek diner attached to the park.
23. Great American Ballpark: I once ate Skyline Chili here. Andrew Keh, another reporter on the Mets beat, described the meal as “something you only eat because your body needs energy to survive.”
24. Angels Stadium: I ate a piece of steak here last week that was tougher than Wade Davis. But they did serve fresh pineapple.
25. Wrigley Field: Less than appealing.
26. Busch Stadium: Nondescript. I tend to eat the stir-fry noodles on the club level.
27. Coors Field: Woof. Blame the altitude.
28. Citi Field: This may be the best eating park in baseball — Shake Shack, Pat LaFrieda’s, Smoke Shack, Rao’s — but not in the pressbox.
29. Rogers Centre: Of all the things I dislike about working in Canada, this is one of them.
30. O.co Coliseum: I walked in there once. I did not eat anything. I have never returned.