February 2014

Spring Training photos: Nori Aoki

Royals photographer Chris Vleisides is in Surprise.  He sent photos of Saturday’s practice, including a look at new right fielder Nori Aoki.

Aoki Norichika_1964

Aoki Norichika_7699

Jarrod Dyson_Aoki Norichika_8566

Aoki Norichika_8457Aoki Norichika_8594

Royals agree to terms with seven players on one-year contracts for 2014

The Royals announced today that the club has agreed to terms on 2014 Major League contracts with left-handed pitcher Justin Marks, right-handed pitchers Louis Coleman and Kelvin Herrera, infielders Cheslor Cuthbert, Mike Moustakas and Danny Valencia, and outfielder Lane Adams.  Consistent with club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Cuthbert, 21, split the 2013 season between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA), batting .247 with 37 doubles and eight homers in 124 games combined between the two stops.  Moustakas, 25, batted .233 in 136 games for the Royals, collecting 26 doubles, 12 homers and 42 RBI.  Valencia, 29, hit .304 with eight homers and 23 RBI in 52 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season.
Adams, 24, was named the George Brett Hitter of the Year as well as the Wilmington (A-Advanced) Blue Rocks Player of the Year in 2013.

Coleman, 27, posted a 3-0 record and an 0.61 ERA (2 ER in 29.2 IP) in 29 appearances for the Royals last season.  He had a stretch of 21.0 consecutive scoreless innings at the Major League level.  Herrera, 24, earned five victories out of the bullpen last season for Kansas City, posting a 3.86 ERA (25 ER in 58.1 IP) and 11.4 strikeouts per 9.0 IP.  Marks, 26, made 22 starts combined between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha (AAA) last season, going 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 141.0 minor league innings.

The Royals have 13players who remain unsigned for the 2014 season: right-handed pitchers Michael Mariot and Yordano Ventura, left-handed pitchers Francisley Bueno, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph and John Lamb, infielders Pedro Ciriaco, Christian Colon and Johnny Giavotella, and outfielders Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Carlos Peguero.

Royals claim outfielder Jimmy Paredes off waivers from Baltimore

The Royals announced today that they have claimed outfielder Jimmy Paredes (pronounced: pah-RAY-dis) off Waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.  Paredes will be placed on the Royals’ 40-man roster. In a corresponding roster move, the club has designated right-handed pitcher Maikel Cleto for assignment.

Paredes, 25, has spent the last three seasons in the Houston Astros’ organization, playing 118 games at the Major League level since 2011.  He hit .192 (24-for-125) with four doubles, a homer and 10 RBI last season for the Astros.  The switch-hitting outfielder was originally signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2007.  The Royals will be Paredes’ third team this offseason, having been claimed by the Miami Marlins on November 4, 2013, and then by the Orioles Saturday (February 15).

Cleto, 24, went 1-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 19 appearances for Triple-A Omaha last season.

Royals, Holland agree to terms on a contract for 2014

 The Royals announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Greg Holland for the 2014 season, avoiding arbitration. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. 

Holland, 28, enjoyed one of the best seasons ever by a Royals relief pitcher, going 2-1 with a club record 47 saves in 2013, while recording a 1.21 ERA. The right-handed hurler was selected to the American League All-Star team and was also named the Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year by the Kansas City Chapter of the BBWAA. He also struck out 103 batters, tying a Royals relief record.

The Royals have now signed all arbitration-eligible players for 2014.

Royals name Mike Sweeney Special Assistant to Baseball Operations

Mike Sweeney with the great Buck O'Neil.

Mike Sweeney with the great Buck O’Neil.

The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has named former first baseman Mike Sweeney to the front office staff, carrying the job title of Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.

“We’re thrilled as an organization that Mike will be joining our baseball operations department,” Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations/General Manager Dayton Moore said.  “He’s a tremendous leader and I’m confident that he will impact our players and staff in positive way.”

Sweeney, 40, was a five-time American League All-Star with the Royals, whom he played with from 1995-2007 after being drafted in the 10th round in 1991 out of Ontario (Calif.) High School.  Sweeney was a .297 career hitter with 325 doubles, 215 home runs, 909 RBI and 759 runs scored.  He capped his playing career with the Oakland Athletics (2008), Seattle Mariners (2009-10) and Philadelphia Phillies (2010).

The club record holder for RBI in a season with 144 in 2000, Sweeney ranks in the top six all-time in Royals history in 17 offensive categories, including second in average (.299) and home runs (197).  He narrowly missed winning the 2002 A.L. batting crown, hitting .340 in 2002, the second-highest single-season average in club history to George Brett’s .390 mark in 1980.  Sweeney represented the Royals as an American League All-Star five times (2000-2003, 2005).  He is joined by George Brett (13), Amos Otis (5) and Frank White (5) as the only players in club history to make five or more All-Star appearances.

“It’s a great honor to have played in the Kansas City organization for 20 years. To be welcomed back by the Glass family, Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and the entire staff is a dream come true for me,” said Sweeney.  “The only thing I was unable to accomplish during my playing days was to bring October baseball back to Kansas City.  With this new position, my goal is to do as much as I can to help the Royals get back to being one of the prized organizations in baseball, as it was in the 1980’s.”

Truck Day is here and Spring (Training) is near!

A major snowstorm hit Kansas City on Tuesday, and while the snow has stopped, it is VERY COLD outside!

Nonetheless, members of Kansas City’s clubhouse, grounds crew and stadium services united on Wednesday to load the Spring Training truck.  All of this gear is headed for the Spring Training Complex in Surprise, Arizona.

The Spring Training truck includes the items that you would expect (balls, bats, gloves) and unique items (like Jeremy Guthrie’s bike).

Truck 2014Salvy Gear

Two Royals FanFest shows to air on FOX Sports Kansas City

FOX Sports Kansas City will air two shows centered on the 2014 Royals FanFest, which drew a record-setting crowd to Bartle Hall in the downtown Kansas City Convention Center last weekend.

In the first show FOX Sports Kansas City’s Ryan Lefebvre interviews designated hitter Billy Butler, Joel Goldberg goes one-on-one with general manager Dayton Moore, and infielder Mike Moustakas reflects on his 2013 season and plans to improve in 2014. There’s also a recap of the Royals awards ceremony.

The second show includes an interview with manager Ned Yost, a feature on the Royals’ three Gold Glove winners, a tour of FanFest with Rex Hudler and a look at last week’s Royals Caravan.

The Royals FanFest shows will be available on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest in western and central Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. DirecTV subscribers will find them on channel 671 and Dish customers on channel 418.

2014 Royals FanFest shows on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest
(times Central)
Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 p.m. (episode 1)
Thursday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. (episode 1)
Friday, Feb. 7 at 9:30 p.m. (episode 1)
Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. (episode 2)
Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9:30 p.m. (episode 1)
Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. (episode 2)
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. (episode 1)
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 9:30 p.m. (episode 2)

2014 Marketing Theme: Royals Players and Fans are Ready to “Be Royal”

Still riding high from their best season in recent years, the Royals are cranking up the excitement with the introduction of their new advertising campaign and tagline, “Be Royal.”

“Last season, the Royals came to play,” said Michael Bucek, Royals Vice President-Marketing and Business Development. “Our ballclub was exciting and played meaningful games until the end of the season and our fans responded with energy and passion. As a team and a community, we proved to ourselves that we have what it takes to live up to the name on the front of our jerseys.”

Kansas City-based ad agency Walz Tetrick, now in their second year with the club, helped develop a campaign that highlights the leadership, poise and pride the Royals players bring into the clubhouse and onto the field and an unrivaled fan base that is second to none.

“We have a great tradition of baseball here in Kansas City,” said WTA president Charlie Tetrick. “So when you put on a Royals jersey, that means something. It means you’re going to play with confidence. And when fans put on their jerseys, they’re going to come out to The K, make noise, support their team and create a true home field advantage. That’s what baseball in Kansas City is all about. It’s in our blood. That’s what it means to Be Royal.”

The ‘Be Royal’ campaign will be seen throughout the preseason and regular season in TV and radio ads, outdoor boards, newspaper ads, online banners and social media.

Season tickets are currently on sale and available online at royals.com, by phone at 816-504-4040 or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

Bruce is back: Chen signs with KC

Chen 2014 FanFest 1The Royals announced today that the club has signed left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen to a one-year contract for the 2014 season, with a mutual option for 2015.   In a corresponding roster move, infielder Emilio Bonifacio was designated for assignment.

Chen, 36, completed his fifth season with the Royals in 2013, going 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA (44 ER in 121.0 IP) in 34 appearances (15 starts).  The veteran worked out of the bullpen the first three months of the season, before earning a spot in the rotation on July 12.  He posted a 5-0 mark and a 1.62 ERA (13 ER in 72.1 IP) from the start of the year to August 17.

A fan favorite, Chen was introduced to great applause on Saturday at Royals FanFest.  He participated in two main stage programs, autograph sessions and a speed pitch activity (the soft-tossing lefty joked a little about his involvement in the speed pitch).

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