The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has traded catcher George Kottaras to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations. Kottaras was designated for assignment on November 22.
Kottaras, 30, played in 46 games for the Royals last season, making 29 starts behind the plate. The left-handed hitting catcher batted .180 with five homers and 12 RBI. He also drew 24 walks, which led the Major Leagues among players with 150 or fewer plate appearances. His .349 on-base percentage ranked sixth among American League backstops that played at least 40 games.
Changes to the road alternate “royal blue” uniform include:
• The jersey will feature the Royals classic KC logo, which also appears on the club’s cap.
• The royal blue jersey will be trimmed in white and powder blue piping, and the numeral and player name will be white with a powder blue outline.
• The classic KC logo will appear on a Royals regular season game uniform for the first time in club history, and the new look includes several design elements featured in the club’s various blue “batting practice” jerseys worn from the 1980s into the early 2000s.
“The KC logo continues to be extremely popular with our fan base and is synonymous with Kansas City,” said Kevin Uhlich, Royals Sr. Vice President-Business Operations. “With that in mind, the Royals are excited to incorporate the logo into our uniform collection for the 2014 season.”
The Royals Majestic Team Store, located at Gate C of Kauffman Stadium, will offer the new jersey exclusively through Monday, December 2 and has announced special holiday hours for fans looking for the perfect Royals gift for friends and family. The store will be open today at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Special holiday shopping hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon-6 p.m. through December 23. The store is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but will be open for extended hours the following day – Friday, November 29 – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Royals announced today that the club has signed six players to minor league contracts for the 2014 season. The club plans to announce Major League Spring Training invitations at a later date.
Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, 26, finished 2013 at Triple-A Omaha, playing in 34 games after a July 22 trade from the Marlins organization. His 25 combined stolen bases with New Orleans and Omaha tied for fifth in the Pacific Coast League. A .278 hitter over eight minor league seasons, Hernandez played in 70 games with Pittsburgh and Miami in 2012.
Third baseman Brandon Laird, 26, joins the Royals from the Houston Astros. The younger brother of veteran catcher Gerald Laird, Brandon has had Major League stints in each of the last three seasons. He recorded five home runs and 11 RBI in 25 games for the Astros in 2013 and spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, batting .277 with 16 home runs and 79 RBI. Laird began his career in the New York Yankees organization, earning Eastern League (AA) MVP honors in 2010 and a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove in 2011.
Outfielder Paulo Orlando, 28, batted .276 with five home runs and 46 RBI in 92 games for Omaha in 2013. Orlando also represented his native Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. A .270 hitter over eight minor league seasons, Orlando joined the Royals in a 2008 trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Outfielder Edinson Rincon, 23, played in a combined 24 games at Surprise and Northwest Arkansas in 2013 as he recovered from left knee surgery. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 6, 2013. Rincon has posted a .285 average over 508 minor league games since 2007.
Right-handed pitcher Wilking Rodriguez, 23, joins the Royals after seven seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Rodriguez was limited to eight appearances in 2013 as he recovered from a shoulder injury. He tossed 9.0 scoreless innings for the Gulf Coast Rays in 2013 and has made 88 career appearances (64 starts), posting a 3.90 ERA over 309.1 innings.
Right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters, 28, made eight starts for the Minnesota Twins last season, going 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA in 39.1 innings. Walters also compiled a 7-5 mark and a 4.18 ERA in 19 starts at Rochester (AAA). He has pitched in parts of five Major League seasons for St. Louis (2009-11), Toronto (2011) and Minnesota (2012-13), going 6-10 with a 6.28 ERA in 152.0 innings.
Some Major League players are linked to one number throughout their careers while others are fine with switching from time to time. We were visiting with reporters before yesterday’s press conference and the question came up – what number(s) had Jason Vargas worn previously and what number would he wear in KC? A quick search of baseball-reference.com revealed that the lefty has donned 56 (Marlins), 43 (Mets), 38 (Mariners) and 60 (Angels). We knew 51 was his new choice, but why 51? The question was asked early in the press conference…Vargas looked at all of the available numbers and left the decision to three-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Vargas will be the 15th Royal to wear 51 in the regular season. The list includes Johnny Damon, who wore the number as a rookie in 1995 before switching to 18, and Jonathan Broxton, the last player to wear the number (2012). Great choice, Elizabeth! 51 it is!
The Royals announced have added left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas to the 40-man roster. To clear a spot on the Major League 40-man roster, the Royals have designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment. Kottaras was KC’s backup catcher in 2013. He recorded five home runs and 12 RBI in 46 games.
The Royals announced today that they have agreed to terms with free agent left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas on a four-year Major League contract upon completion of a physical, which he passed today. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Vargas, 30, went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 24 starts with the Los Angeles Angels last season, recording 109 strikeouts in 150.0 innings. He tallied a pair of shutouts, making him one of just eight American League pitchers to collect multiple shutouts during the 2013 season. The left-handed hurler was named A.L. Pitcher of the Month in May, going 5-0 with a 2.30 ERA in six starts, his second monthly award in the last two years. Vargas has tossed five shutouts over the last three seasons, which is tied with former teammate Felix Hernandez for fifth in the Major Leagues in that span.
A workhorse throughout his career, Vargas has logged 568.1 innings over the last three seasons, including a career high 217.1 frames for Seattle in 2012, which were the most by a left-handed pitcher that season. His nine complete games since the start of 2011 are tied for fifth-most in the Major Leagues, including second-most among southpaws. He set career bests in wins (14), starts (33), innings pitched (217.1), strikeouts (141), WHIP (1.18) and quality starts (22) during the 2012 season with Seattle.
Vargas and his wife, Shelley, reside in Phoenix, Ariz., with their son, Joshua, and daughter, Elizabeth.
We welcome Jason and his family to Kansas City!
The Royals today announced several moves to set the club’s 40-man roster at 40 for the offseason reserve list deadline which occurs at midnight ET tonight.
The club has added outfielder Lane Adams, infielders Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert and right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot to the 40-man roster. In corresponding roster moves, the Royals have designated left-handed pitcher Noel Arguelles and infielder Irving Falu for assignment, while right-handed pitcher Felipe Paulino has elected to become a free agent in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to Omaha.
Adams, 24, was named the Wilmington (A-Advanced) Player of the Year in 2013. He batted .276 with seven home runs, 39 RBI and 23 stolen bases for the Blue Rocks before a July promotion to Northwest Arkansas. He finished the season with Omaha (AAA), helping the Storm Chasers win the Pacific Coast League championship by going 3-for-5 with four RBI in the series clinching win over Salt Lake. Adams was a 13th-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Colon, 24, was the Omaha Player of the Year last season. He hit .273 with 12 home runs, 58 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 131 games. Colon had an impressive second half, hitting .335 (56-for-167) while posting a .406 on-base percentage. He was KC’s first-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Cuthbert, 21, hit .247 with 37 doubles, eight homers and 59 RBI in 134 games between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA). He hit .280 with 21 doubles and 31 RBI with the Blue Rocks, before being promoted on June 13. Cuthbert was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2009.
Mariot, 25, posted a 4-5 record with 11 saves and a 3.56 ERA in 47 appearances with Omaha last season. He totaled 66 strikeouts in 60.2 innings, while posting a 1.39 WHIP. The right-handed pitcher was an eighth-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Nebraska.
The Royals today announced their 2014 Spring Training schedule, with the club opening its 12th season in the Cactus League as the home team against its Surprise complex mates, the Texas Rangers, on Thursday, February 27 at 2:05 p.m. (CT).
Kansas City’s 30-game Spring Training schedule features 14 home games at Surprise Stadium, plus one game in Surprise as the road club against Texas, which is the second game of the spring. Home day games from February 27 to March 7 will start at 2:05 p.m. (CT) until Daylight Saving Time on March 9 when the day games will begin at 3:05 p.m. (CT). The Royals will host evening games at 8:05 p.m. (CT) on Monday, March 17 vs. Texas, Wednesday, March 19 vs. the Cincinnati Reds and Tuesday, March 25 vs. the Seattle Mariners. Kansas City will conclude the spring schedule by traveling to Milwaukee for games on Friday, March 28 (7:10 p.m.) and Saturday, March 29 (1:10 p.m.). The 2014 regular season will open for the Royals in Detroit vs. the defending division champions on Monday, March 31.
The full spring schedule can be seen here: http://mlb.mlb.com/spring_training/tentative.jsp?c_id=kc
The Surprise Recreation Campus will accept mail orders along with orders for season ticket packages beginning on Monday, December 2. For these orders, fans can call (623) 222-2222 or go online and visit www.royals.com/springtraining to obtain a ticket brochure. Individual Spring Training game tickets go on sale via an online pre-sale on Monday, December 9 through ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. The Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office will open at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday, January 4 for walk-up purchases. A service charge will be applied to tickets purchased online or over the phone. Fans with questions about Spring Training tickets may call (623) 222-2222, beginning today.
Again in 2014, the Royals are offering exclusive fan travel experiences, allowing fans to experience Spring Training like never before. Packages include game tickets, choice of hotel accommodations, car rental and a custom Royals Spring Training merchandise package including a hat, t-shirt and backpack.
The “Grand Slam” package will be held March 13–16 and will include the exclusive pre-game meet and greet with Royals team personnel and select players. In addition, three “Spring Special” weekends (do not include the meet and greet) will be held February 28-March 2, March 7-9 and March 21-23. For more information and to confirm your reservations, please call (800) 892-7687 or online at www.royals.com/springtravel.
Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise on Friday, February 14. Workouts for pitchers begin the following day, Saturday, February 15. The remainder of the squad will report on Wednesday, February 19 and begin workouts for the 2014 campaign on Thursday, February 20.
The Peoria Javelinas have their final game of the 2013 Arizona Fall League this afternoon (November 14).
We take a look at two more Royals prospects, with the photos courtesy of Lee Magenheim of Arizona.
Player: Lane Adams
Age: Turned 24 on Wednesday
Hometown: Red Oak, Oklahoma
Acquired: 13th round pick in the 2009 June Free Agent Draft
2013: Wilmington Player of the Year (.276 AVG, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 23 SB in 87 games); promoted to Northwest Arkansas, where he tied club records with three home runs and seven RBI on August 13. Joined Omaha during the PCL playoffs.
Basketball Star: Adams led Red Oak to state championships in both baseball and basketball. He scored 3,251 points during his basketball career, finishing fifth in Oklahoma prep history. His 93.7 percent free throw percentage as a junior led all of Oklahoma. Adams turned down a basketball scholarship to sign with the Royals.
Player: Malcom Culver
Hometown: El Mirage, Ariz. (attended high school in California)
Acquired: Eighth round pick in the 2008 June Free Agent Draft
Position: Right-handed pitcher
2013: Recorded a 2.79 ERA, 76 strikeouts and five saves in 84.0 innings at High-A Wilmington. Made one appearance with Northwest Arkansas.
Football Star: Culver had an opportunity to play both baseball and football at San Diego State. He chose to sign with KC.
Return to the mound: Culver was drafted as a pitcher. He spent 2008-10 as an infielder before moving back to the mound in 2011.