It’s been hard to write with everything going on with the MLB lockout. Honestly, it was difficult to even sit down and just compile this piece after news of a rough third day of negotiations between MLB owners and the MLB Player’s Association.
That being said, I feel like there have been a couple of things going on in the Royals world that is worth talking about in a “Jottings” post, in addition to the “lockout progress” in general.
Thus, let’s take a look at a few different items in this edition of the “Jottings”.
Royals Sign Utility Infielder Robbie Glendinning
The Royals have been slowly building their Cactus League roster this Winter, even in the midst of the lockout preventing them from signing any major Free Agents. While most of the Royals’ latest free agent signings have been more pitching-focused, Dayton Moore and the Royals front office made a shrewd move on Tuesday, which was announced via Royals Twitter:
Glendinning is a native-born Australian who played college baseball at the University of Missouri. After being drafted in the 21st round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Glendinning knocked around in the Pirates system, advancing as high as Double-A ball in 2019. After the Minor League season was canceled in 2020 due to COVID though, he has played the last couple of seasons back in his home country of Australia with the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League.
Over the past two years in Australia, his numbers have been solid, as he posted a .953 OPS in 40 games and 174 plate appearances in 2019-2020 and a .951 OPS in 79 plate appearances and 20 games. In addition to playing in Australia’s domestic league, Glendinning has also spent some considerable time with the Australian National baseball team.
He played for Australia in the WBSC Premier 12 back in 2019, as evidenced in this highlight below against the Canadian national team:
Glendinning seemed to be a favorite of Pirates prospect experts, so there’s a possibility that he could become one as well in Kansas City.
From the look of it, he appears to be a gamer who plays the game hard but doesn’t have any outstanding tools at the plate or in the field. That’s a big reason why he not only went in the 21st round in the draft, but he didn’t last long in the Pirates system (though I do wonder what would have happened had COVID not happened).
While he is the kind of player Moore and the Royals front office like to have in their system, it is likely that he will serve as infield depth in Triple-A Omaha in 2022, rather than compete for a spot on the 40-man roster.
At least Storm Chasers fans will have someone to look forward to on Minor League Opening Day.
What Are the Expectations for Bobby Witt, Jr?
Max Rieper posted an interesting article that looked at Witt’s outlook in Kansas City, especially in his rookie season in 2022. After all, there has been no position player in recent Royals history who has been as anticipated or as hyped as the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Here’s what Rieper said about the potential challenges Witt could face in his rookie season, as he mentions that other top Royals prospects, including Hall of Famer George Brett, struggled a bit in their MLB debut campaigns:
The transition from Triple-A to the big leagues is a difficult one, with many prospects unable to catch up to the velocity, adjust to the movement, and endure the grueling schedule of the majors. Even those that eventually become All-Stars have trouble initially. Johnny Damon, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Hall of Famer George Brett were all highly touted prospects who put up below league-average numbers in their first full season.“What are your expectations for Bobby Witt Jr.?” by Max Rieper; Royals Review
I think Witt will debut early in 2022, perhaps as soon as Opening Day, should he perform decently in Cactus League play (which I think he will). However, the idea that Witt is going to be putting up the numbers he produced in Northwest Arkansas and Omaha from last season without a problem in Kansas City is most likely wishful thinking (and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections seem to support that).
Witt will experience his fair share of growing pains, especially at the plate as he adjusts to much better pitching in 2022.
That being said, what will Witt actually produce for the Royals lineup next season?
That is to be determined, though this lockout sure isn’t helping things. A shortened Spring Training will only put more pressure on Witt to produce immediately in Cactus League competition, if he wants to make the Royals’ active roster on Opening Day (whenever that is).
Day Three of Negotiations Moves Slowly
On Wednesday evening, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported that MLB is putting a hard deadline for next Monday for negotiations before games get canceled:
The move is an expected ploy by MLB owners, who are doing all they can to spin the narrative in their favor in the negotiation process.
By threatening lost games (and essentially lost pay), owners are flexing to both the players and the fans in this instance.
On a player-end, they are hoping that players will cave with the thought of their pocketbook being hurt. When it comes to the fans, owners are hoping that this “deadline” will defer some of the responsibility on the players in this “negotiation process”, especially if they can’t come to a deal by the end of day Monday.
It’s a bogus and cheap move by the owners. And honestly, it’s already backfiring on MLB owners, as people on social media are already recognizing the nefarious intentions by owners with this “statement”:
Today wasn’t a good day for baseball negotiations, and it’s easy to get pessimistic about the outlook for the season as a baseball fan (especially as a Royals one).
But who knows…tomorrow is another day.
Photo Credit: Pirates Prospects.com