WTNYNovember 27, 2003
Royals and Rumors
By Bryan Smith

Happy Thanksgiving, hope everyone has a great day of festivities, and (for once), football. Today's column is filled with rumors and signings, kind of like a Friday column normally would be. But I'll have more substantial material tomorrow, so check back then. First off, let's please the Kansas City fans...

Allan Baird re-signed a triplet of Royals yesterday, and as usual, I'll throw some splits your way before analyzing...

Brian Anderson statistics:

Overall: 14-11 3.78 212/197.2 87/43
With Royals: 5-1 3.99 50/49.2 15/11
In Kauffman: 3-1 6.53 36/30.1 11/6
Before Break: 7-6 4.13 120/104.2 39/21
After Break: 7-5 3.39 92/93 48/22

Joe Randa stats:

Overall: .291/.348/.452
Vs. RH: .282/.345/.433 Vs. LH: .311/.356/.497
Home: .286/.357/.478 Away: .295/.341/.432
Pre-ASB: .248/.304/.414 Post-ASB: .344/.402/.500

Curt Leskanic splits:

Overall: 5-0 2.22 38/52.2 50/29
With Royals: 1.73 16/26 22/11
Vs. RH: .228/.319/.356 Vs. LH: .176/.307/.247

Anderson will make $3.25M the next two seasons, Randa will make a hefty $3.75M next year, and Leskanic will earn $1.5M. In total, the Royals spent $8.5M towards their 2004 team, landing them at $31.4M so far, by my calculations. OK, here's what I know about the pitching staff next season:

1. Brian Anderson
2. Runelvys Hernandez
3. Darrell May
4. Kevin Appier
5. Gobble vs. Asencio vs. Snyder

Not bad, and so far the bullpen has Leskanic, Nate Field, Mike MacDougal, Jeremy Affeldt, D.J. Carrasco, and possibly Kris Wilson. I believe Affeldt has huge potential out of the 'pen, able to pitch in any role necessary. He can go long relief, middle relief, close, and come in to get lefties out. Leskanic can get right-handers out, but MacDougal actually showed a huge reverse platoon split. Signing one more right-hander, possibly Al Levine, is a possibility.

Randa will likely be one of two veterans signed, and I've made it no secret what I believe this team should do. My vote would be to put DeJesus and Guiel on the outfield corners, and sign Javy Lopez with the remaining money. That would give a very good lineup of:

1. David DeJesus- LF
2. Joe Randa- 3B
3. Mike Sweeney- 1B
4. Carlos Beltran- CF
5. Javy Lopez- C
6. Ken Harvey- DH
7. Angel Berroa- SS
8. Aaron Guiel- RF
9. Desi Relaford- 2B

That's a very good lineup, with even more potential. If Randa hits like he did in the second half, and Lopez was to continue his tear, they would have one of the more formidable offenses in baseball. DeJesus would switch with Guiel if he struggled, and Ken Harvey and Angel Berroa are likely to further improve next season. It's looking good in Kansas City, especially when considering the hits Minnesota and Chicago have taken thus far.

And after that rant, I'd like to briefly mention that Mark Kotsay is officially an A, while Sandy Alomar Jr. re-signed with the Chicago White Sox. I already wrote about Kotsay, and the 150AB that Alomar will steal from Miguel Olivo isn't substantial enough for me to spend time writing about. So, onto the rumors:

- Kaz Matsui has announced he is more than willing to change positions, which will officially count the Yankees in for negotiations. The Yankees are hoping to bring Matsui in to play second, and move Soriano to center. Bernie Williams would shift to DH, and Nick Johnson would then be featured in a deal for Javier Vazquez.

But, I must say I don't believe Matsui is as open as he is saying, I mean, he was voted best Japanese shortstop of all-time last season. He is fantastic on defense, and is probably using the Yankees to drive his price up. Ultimately, the Dodgers or Mariners will sign him, with emphasis on the latter. That leaves the Yankees with one other second base option...

- Luis Castillo is sitting in a very comfortable position, in the driver's seat with two very nice offers on the table. And yes, more are to come. Castillo was first offered a three year, $15.5M extension by the Marlins, to which he gave the response, "Let's wait and see." The Mets, according to the New York Post, countered with an offer in the $14M range over three seasons, apparently asking Castillo to ditch Miami to play in New York (for less money).

But, if Matsui turns the Yankees down, they're likely to go after Castillo, and the Red Sox and Cubs are supposedly interested as well. If Castillo plays his cards right, we could be talking $7M per for a sound defensive, light hitting second basemen. Let me just say I hardly advocate the signing of Castillo for the Cubs, as other options (Aurilia, Grudzi, Durham, Walker) would be more fiscally/statistically sound for this team.

- The Cubs are said to be one of the teams interested in Keith Foulke, the 'mystery' team of the bidding process. Foulke has received a four-year offer from the Red Sox, but will wait to hear offers from Oakland, New York, and Chicago. Keith isn't said to be interested in the Mets, as he wants to be pitching for a contender. Who knows how far the Cubs will go, as they are interested in three other pitchers as closers. Who?

- Tom Gordon, Rod Beck, and Ugueth Urbina are all expected to hear offers from the Cubs, all to take over Joe Borowski's job as closer. Borowski would then move to middle relief, where I believe he is much better suited. Gordon is drawing a ton of interest from the Devil Rays, Urbina will probably end up with the Mets, and Rod Beck remains a wild card. If the Cubs miss out on Foulke and Gordon, expect them to jump all over Beck. If the A's miss out on Foulke, I expect them to be interested in Rod. Funny, I haven't heard LaTroy Hawkins' name in weeks.

- No real news on Curt Schilling, as Epstein and Lucchino appear to be trying to keep the deal hush-hush. If Schilling doesn't get a three-year offer from Boston, he will spurn them and stay in Arizona. If he does, Boston will have an amazing rotation, and Richie Sexson will be a Diamondback next week...

That's all for today, I just can't stomach to write more. OK, I can't write puns. Dammit, see ya tomorrow.