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Royals agree to terms with relievers Louis Coleman, Tim Collins

LouisColeman_5104Tim Collins_5081The Royals announced today that the club has agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right-handed pitcher Louis Coleman and left-handed pitcher Tim Collins for the 2015 season, avoiding arbitration. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Coleman, 28, pitched in both Kansas City and Omaha (AAA) last season, going 1-0 with a 5.56 ERA (21 ER in 34.0 IP) and a save in 31 appearances with the Royals. He has pitched in parts of the last four seasons in KC, going 5-4 with a 3.25 ERA, two saves and 185 strikeouts in 148 big league outings.

Collins, 25, also split the 2014 season between Kansas City and Omaha, making 22 regular season appearances with the Royals. He posted a 3.86 ERA (9 ER in 21.0 IP) and a 0-3 record. The left-handed pitcher also had four postseason outings, including three during the World Series. He’s recorded a 12-17 career record with a 3.54 ERA in 228 career relief appearances at the Major League level.

The signings of Coleman and Collins leave the Royals with seven unsigned arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Danny Duffy, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson.

Dayton Moore/Ned Yost conference call notes

General Manager Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost spoke with the media today regarding Yost’s contract extension for the 2016 season.

Moore mentioned the importance of getting the deal done before Spring Training, noting that both parties were comfortable with the deal.  Moore said that Yost has done a terrific job, noting that he brought hope and optimism when he joined the club in 2010.  He also talked about Yost believing in his coaches, letting them do their work, and that Yost works well with staff throughout the organization.

Yost dialed in for his portion of the call from a deer stand – he’s hunting today on ground owned by good friend and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.  Yost, who is 60, was asked about the year-to-year status of his contract extensions.  He plans to continue managing as long as he enjoys it, and success like the Royals had in 2014 makes that an easy decision.  When asked if he is in offseason mode or season mode, Yost said that he is thinking about lineups, ready to see the players and fans at FanFest, and ready to get Spring Training started.

When asked about the Royals’ offseason, Moore talked about the defense remaining strong with the signing of Alex Rios.  As for other agent additions, he mentioned that the Royals liked the way that Edinson Volquez was trending last year and that designated hitter Kendrys Morales blends in well as a switch hitter.  Much of the success in 2015 is predicated on improvement from returning players, which includes Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez.  Moore expects Omar Infante to return to his 2013 form.  And as for Gordon’s return from offseason surgery, Moore said that the training staff expects him to be ready by Opening Day, though he may not be 100 percent going into Spring Training.

He also noted that the bullpen remained strong and could be even better with Luke Hochevar’s return, a full year of Jason Frasor and a bounce back year from Tim Collins.

Ned Yost agrees to one-year extension

Royals vs Angels_56Royals vs IndiansThe Royals announced today that manager Ned Yost has agreed to a one-year extension, which runs through the 2016 season.

Yost, who has been the Kansas City skipper since May 13, 2010, led the Royals to their first playoff appearance in 29 years and became the first manager in Major League history to win his first eight postseason games, capped with the American League title.  The Royals took San Francisco to a seventh game in the 2014 World Series.  Last year’s squad won 89 regular season games, the most by a Royals team since the club won 92 games in 1989.

Yost is 830-904 in 11 seasons as a Major League manager.  His 830 career wins are tied for 73rd all-time with Fred Hutchinson (Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati) and rank seventh among active big league skippers. During the 2014 season, Yost became the longest tenured manager in Royals history, passing Dick Howser (770) on September 24.  He is third on the franchise’s all-time win list with a 373-402 record, entering 2015 behind only Howser (404) and Whitey Herzog (410).

Royals announce 2015 minor league coaching staffs

The Royals announced their minor league coaching staffs today.  Manager Brian Poldberg returns to Triple-A Omaha, with Vance Wilson once again at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.  Brian Buchanan moves up to High-A Wilmington, with Omar Ramirez taking over for “Buck” at Lexington.  Justin Gemoll moves from a coaching role at Wilmington to the manager’s seat at Idaho Falls.  Scott Thorman, also a bench coach in 2014, is now manager at Burlington.  Summer league action returns to Surprise, Ariz., after a one-year hiatus with Darryl Kennedy resuming a familiar role.  Jose Gualdron is the manager of the Dominican Summer League squad.

A few notes:  Former Royals pitching coach Al Nipper (2001-02) has rejoined the organization as Omaha’s pitching coach.  Two-time Royals Pitcher of the Year Jeff Suppan is entering the professional coaching ranks as the pitching coach at Idaho Falls.  Click here for a full listing of field staffs and coordinators.

Royals announce restructuring of Baseball Operations Department

The Royals and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations/ General Manager Dayton Moore today announced a restructuring of the Baseball Operations Department.  The redesign of the department starts with the retirement of Dean Taylor from the role of Vice President of Baseball Operations/Assistant General Manager.  Taylor, a veteran of 39 years of Major League service, will continue to serve the Royals as a consultant to baseball operations.

“I can’t thank Dean enough for the contributions he has made to our organization since accepting my invitation to return to Kansas City in 2006,” said Moore.  “His knowledge of the game, its history and the intricacies of the administrative aspects of our sport made him an invaluable part of our success.  I’m thankful he has accepted the role as consultant while also transitioning into retirement.  As for the restructuring, we have promoted several members of our staff and given them more responsibility in their roles of expertise.  I’m confident this group, as well as the others who remain with the department, will continue to work at a high level and make huge contributions to our future success.”

The restructured Baseball Operations Department:
J.J. Picollo – Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel
Rene Francisco – Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations
Scott Sharp – Assistant General Manager/Baseball Operations
Jin Wong – Assistant General Manager/Baseball Administration
Chino Cadahia – Senior Coordinator/Player Development
Kyle Vena – Director Baseball Administration
Ronnie Richardson – Director Minor League Operations
Mike Groopman – Director Baseball Operations/Analytics
John Williams – Director Baseball Analytics/Player Personnel
Daniel Mack – Director Baseball Analytics/Research Science
Chris Getz – Baseball Operations Assistant/Player Development
Phillip Stringer – Baseball Operations Assistant
Nick Relic – Minor League Video Coordinator

Alex Gordon has successful right wrist procedure

Outfielder Alex Gordon underwent successful right wrist extensor retinaculum repair this morning by hand and wrist specialist Dr. Bruce Toby at the University of Kansas Hospital.  While no formal timetable is being announced, the 30-year old Gordon is expected to be recovered in plenty of time for the 2015 season opener against the White Sox on April 6 at Kauffman Stadium.

“Alex reached out just prior to Christmas to report that he was experiencing some right wrist discomfort during his off-season workouts,” said Nick Kenney, Royals’ Head Athletic Trainer.  “We asked him to come to Kansas City after the holiday for an evaluation and it was determined he needed to have this repaired now to avoid any further complications and any delay in his start to the upcoming season.”

Gordon, a two-time American League All-Star, dealt with right wrist irritation just prior to the 2014 All-Star break, but it did not lead to a significant loss of playing time.  He aggravated the area during his winter training sessions which led to this diagnosis and repair.

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to two-year contract

The Royals announced today that the club has signed free-agent right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez (pronounced: VOHL-kehz) to a two-year contract with a mutual option for the 2017 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a corresponding roster move, shortstop Ryan Jackson was designated for assignment.

Volquez, 31, led Pittsburgh’s staff in wins in 2014, going 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA (65 ER in 192.2 IP), holding opposing hitters to a .235 batting average. His ERA ranked 15th among qualifying National League starting pitchers, while his 7.75 hits allowed per nine innings ranked eighth among the league’s starters. He ended the regular season by tossing a career-best 18.0 consecutive scoreless innings and posted the second-lowest ERA in the N.L. in September (1.08), behind only Chicago’s Jake Arietta (0.97). The righty was 9-1 with a 1.85 ERA after June 23, spanning his final 17 starts of the year.

Volquez will begin his 11th Major League season in 2015, after debuting for the Texas Rangers in 2005. The righty is 66-59 with a 4.44 career ERA, holding opponents to a .252 batting average. He was a National League All-Star and finished fourth in the league’s Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 with Cincinnati, posting a career high 17 wins, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 196.0 innings. He was originally signed by Texas as an undrafted free agent in 2001. Along with the Rangers (2005-07) and Reds (2008-11), Volquez has also pitched for San Diego (2012-13) and Pittsburgh (2014). He has also pitched in the World Baseball Classic twice for the Dominican Republic, helping them win the tournament in 2013.

A native of Barahona, Dominican Republic, Volquez resides in Santo Domingo during the offseason with his wife, Roandy and twin daughters, Eylin and Aylin, who were born November 5, 2013.

Royals secure outright waivers on Casey Coleman, Moises Sierra

The Royals announced today that the club has secured outright waivers on right-handed reliever Casey Coleman and outfielder Moises Sierra. Both players have been assigned outright to Triple-A Omaha, with Coleman having until tomorrow to accept the assignment or elect free agency. Coleman was designated for assignment on December 15, with Sierra designated on December 16.

Royals, outfielder Alex Rios agree to one-year deal with mutual option for 2016

The Royals announced today that the club has signed free-agent outfielder Alex Rios to a one-year contract with a mutual option for the 2016 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rios, 33, spent the 2014 season with the Texas Rangers, batting .280 with 30 doubles, eight triples, four homers and 17 stolen bases in 131 games. His eight triples tied for fourth-most in the American League, while he ranked second in the league with a .333 batting average (45-for-135) during day games. He also batted .325 (40-for-123) with a .545 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching. Rios got off to a hot start last season, leading the league with a .335 average (84-for-251) through games on June 10, which included a 12-game hitting streak from May 17-29.

A two-time All-Star (2005-06 with Toronto), Rios will begin his 12th Major League season in 2015, after debuting for the Blue Jays in 2004. He’s a career .278 hitter with 352 doubles, 61 triples, 165 homers and 244 stolen bases in 1,586 games. The veteran outfielder ranks 24th among active players in hits (1,680), 21st in doubles (352), 10th in triples (61) and seventh in outfield assists (90). He is one of three active players with at least 300 career doubles, 50 triples and 150 home runs, along with Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins. Rios set career highs in several categories in 2012 with the White Sox, batting .304 with 25 homers and 91 RBI and a .516 slugging percentage. He tied for third in the American League with 42 steals in 2013, splitting time between Chicago and Texas.

A native of Coffee, Ala., Rios graduated from San Pedro Martin High School in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, before being selected 19th overall by Toronto in the 1999 June Free Agent Draft. He resides in Guaynabo during the offseason with his wife, Carla, and children, Alex and Alessandra.

Royals release Peguero, trade Giavotella to Angels for RHP Brian Broderick

A busy week of roster moves continued today for the Royals.  The club requested release waivers on outfielder Carlos Peguero, who spent the majority of 2014 at Omaha.  That put KC’s 40-man roster at 39.  The Royals then traded infielder Johnny Giavotella to the Angels for right-handed pitcher Brian Broderick.  Giavotella was designated for assignment on Thursday when the club added RHP Kris Medlen.  Broderick pitched in the Majors with Washington in 2011.  He will not be on the Major League roster.

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