HTP on Benintendi; Pitchers and Catchers Report; What About Rosenthal?

Just another quick post today, as I am going to highlight a few things and thoughts on this snowy and cold day (again). God, March and April can’t come soon enough honestly. February has definitely sucked.

Here’s the Pitch Newsletter on Andrew Benintendi trade

Today, I contributed an article to the IBWAA’s “Here’s the Pitch” newsletter where I talk about the Benintendi trade, and how it reminds me of the James Shields trade back in 2013. Here’s a segment from the piece:

From 2013-2017, baseball was back in the discussion in Kansas City, and not as a punchline. Whether it was sports bars or divey hipster “drink clubs,” Kansas City Royals baseball was the event to watch between April and, sometimes, October (there was a hipster bar in Kansas City that only showed the Royals game on their one TV and then covered it up with a sheet once the game was over). That’s how culturally big baseball was in Kansas City during that five-year stretch.

“Andrew Benintendi Trade Could Signal Changing Tides For Kansas City Royals” by Kevin O’Brien; Here’s the Pitch Newsletter

This article requires a subscription membership, but the newsletter is well worth it, especially if you are a fan of baseball writing. The IBWAA has a collection of great, independent writers who cover baseball, and if anything, these writers definitely show that there are diverse perspective on our National Pastime who are worth celebrating. And a subscription is pretty cheap as well (like a buck or so a month), so it is not only worth it, but supports independent writers who are passionate about writing and covering the game of baseball in different and unique ways.

Pitchers and catchers report day!

Today, most of the teams in Major League Baseball will have pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training sites in Florida and Arizona. This includes the Royals, who will have pitchers and catchers report to the Spring Training facility in Surprise, Arizona, which looks a whole lot warmer and nicer than what we are experiencing here in Kansas City and the Midwest, in general.

It’s only the first “official” day of baseball, so there’s a lot more to come on the horizon. However, after a COVID-affected season, and a rough winter with bitter cold, I think it is safe to say that Brad in the tweet below speaks for a lot of Royals fans in the KC Metro Area:

So what about Rosenthal?

I talked last week about the possibility of a Maikel Franco return, which seems unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility, as he is still a free agent (and his options seem to be dwindling as the Milwaukee Brewers, who have a hole at third, seem to be intent on bringing back Travis Shaw). The other former Royals from 2020 who remains a free agent is Trevor Rosenthal, who was the Royals closer in 2020 before being traded to San Diego around last year’s deadline. Rosenthal was a key reliever for the Padres down the stretch, and he showed that he was recovered from his recent injuries (he missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John recovery). Last year, he posted a 0.8 WAR overall, as well as a 1.90 ERA and 2.22 FIP in 23.2 IP between the Royals and Padres, according to Fangraphs. Hence, there was some thought that Rosenthal would command a multi-year deal this offseason.

Unfortunately for Rosenthal, nothing has worked out thus far, and he remains as one of the best (and maybe most expensive) relievers left on the free agent market. Rosenthal has been connected to the Yankees and Padres, but recent deals for both teams may have closed the door on those two possible destinations for Rosenthal. Recently, the Mets have emerged as a suitor, as reports circulated that the Mets have been in talks with Rosenthal about a possible deal.

Early this offseason, I ruled out a Rosenthal return to Kansas City. While he was pretty good with the Royals, and is a hometown guy (he grew up in Lee’s Summit), I figured the Padres would bring him back, or a contender would be interested in his services. However, the Royals have slowly become a contender (or more of a contender in comparison to years past) and there really aren’t a lot of great options where Rosenthal could get paid AND play for a team expected to compete in the division. Thus, the longer this plays out, the more likely I think it will be that Rosenthal will return to KC, which would only boost the Royals’ chances in the AL Central in 2021.

(Photo Credit: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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