Results tagged ‘ Will Smith ’
The Royals and General Manager Dayton Moore held a conference call with reporters Thursday morning following KC’s acquisition of outfielder Norichika Aoki (pronounced: nor-EACH-kah AH-okee) for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.
The first questions revolved around how this trade impacts additional offseason possibilities. Moore feels that his team is improved, but doesn’t feel that the offseason is complete, saying that the situation is fluid. The Royals will continue to pursue players through trades and free agency.
Moore noted that Aoki can play all three outfield positions. The Royals see him as an above-average right fielder who has enough athleticism to play center field. He runs very good routes in the outfield and is a smart, instinctive player. Aoki played all three outfield positions in Milwaukee, with most of the work as a right fielder.
Moore said that new third base coach Dale Sveum likes Aoki’s abilities after seeing him play against the Cubs the last two years. Aoki figures to be KC’s leadoff hitter, which will move Alex Gordon more toward the middle of the lineup.
Smith, 24, spent parts of the last two seasons at the Major League level, making 16 starts in 2012 before moving to a bullpen role midway through 2013. Smith excelled in the bullpen role, holding batters to a .170 average. Moore said that all deals come with a cost and you have to give up quality (players) in order to acquire quality.
The Royals announced today that they have acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki (pronounced: nor-EACH-kah AH-okee) from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.
Aoki, 31, batted .286 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 20 stolen bases for Milwaukee in 2013. He ranked second in the Major Leagues with 40 infield hits, while he led the National League in singles (140), tied for seventh in multi-hit games (50), seventh in times reaching base (237) and tied for 10th in hits (171). Aoki hit .339 (60-for-181) against left-handed pitching last season, the top average by a left-handed hitter in the Major Leagues. He also struck out just 40 times in 674 plate appearances for an MLB-leading 16.9 at-bats per strikeout ratio.
Aoki was signed by the Brewers prior to the 2012 season after playing eight seasons with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League (2004-11). He batted .288 during his rookie campaign with the Brewers, collecting 10 homers, 50 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 151 games. He finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year voting, leading all first-year players in steals and tied San Diego’s Yonder Alonso for the N.L. rookie lead in hits (150).
He hit .329 with 84 homers, 385 RBI and 164 stolen bases during his career in Japan. Aoki won the Central League’s batting championship three times: 2005 (.344), 2007 (.346) and 2010 (.358) and hit over .300 in seven of his eight seasons in the league. He is the only player in Nippon Professional Baseball history with two 200-plus hit seasons (2005 and 2010). Aoki was a seven-time recipient of the Best Nine Award (Japanese equivalent of the Silver Slugger Award), a six-time Gold Glove honoree in center field and was the 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year. He was also a member of both of Japan’s World Baseball Classic championship teams in 2006 and 2009.
He will become the first Japanese-born position player to suit up for the Royals.
Smith, 24, went 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 appearances (18 as a reliever) for the Royals last season.
The Royals announced today that right-handed pitcher Louis Coleman has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha. To make room on the roster, left-handed pitcher Will Smith has been optioned back to Omaha.
Coleman, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher, had a 13-day stint with Kansas City earlier this year, making 4 scoreless relief appearances, which spanned 4.1 innings. He earned his second Major League win, pitching a perfect 8th inning in St. Louis on May 30. Coleman was recently selected to represent the Storm Chasers at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno, Nev. Smith was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 6 appearances (one start) for the Royals this season.
Royals skipper Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon prior to the series finale with the Atlanta Braves. Yost first addressed the lineup changes that were seen in yesterday’s contest. Yost stated that this lineup is what the club envisioned when the season began, and now that players are beginning to hit mid-season form, the Royals are able to put it into play. “When you look at a lineup you’re trying to find ways to score a bunch of runs…there’s a lot that goes in to it…until we get three or four guys going at one time it’s going to be the same. You can start to see Hoz coming out, Moose is swinging the bat better, (and) we all know what Billy can do. Just set it up the way you want and when it comes together we should be in pretty good shape.”
Yost then discussed the options that shortstop Alcides Escobar gives the club in the second spot of the batting order. He stated that having Escobar in the two spot gives the club more options and opportunities to score runs. Yost then went on to state that Escobar has shown proficiency in the two hole before, and that his ability to handle the bat gives the Royals greater options to score.
Yost concluded by discussing how Will Smith will fair in his new role out of the bullpen. “I think he’s going to adjust to that role really well, he’s still a really young guy, and he’s very durable and has tremendous competitiveness.”
Tonight the Atlanta Braves come to Kansas City for the first time in club history. Before the matchup, Ned Yost met with reporters in the Royals dugout.
Yost worked under Bobby Cox, Atlanta’s retired and future Hall of Fame manager, from 1991-2002. Yost was asked how much he learned about being a manager from his Atlanta days and Bobby Cox. “Just about everything. You are a product of your environment growing up and growing up as a baseball coach, learning from Bobby Cox, a (future) Hall of Fame manager, you learned a lot.” Ned went on to say, “Spending 12 years with him gave me the ability to watch closely how he handled situations and the baseball team. I would say everything I have learned about managing has come from trial and error and from Bobby Cox.”
Other than questions about Ned’s Atlanta days, the skipper was asked about the Royals’ roster moves on Tuesday that sent Kelvin Herrera to Omaha and recalled reliever Will Smith. Yost had this to say about the move, “Kelvin had been struggling a bit and Will Smith has been throwing the ball really well down there (at Omaha). Smith gives us an extra lefty to use down there (in the bullpen) with Tim Collins and Bruce Chen. He will gives us a little more depth until Kelvin gets right again.”
The South Caravan wrapped up with three stops on Monday. The first was in Springdale, Ark., home of the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Royals owner David Glass met with pitchers Bruce Chen, Danny Duffy and Will Smith before a luncheon, which was hosted by the Naturals and the Springdale Rotary. The program included Glass greeting the crowd of over 200. A Q&A session for the pitchers followed, with Chen providing several laughs. Fans were happy to see former Naturals Duffy and Smith, who helped the club to the 2010 Texas League title. We also noticed a Bruce Chen Northwest Arkansas jersey – a very rare item as the lefty made just one rehab start with the club!
The Royals played another intrasquad scrimmage today as they prepare to face Texas on Sunday at 2:05 Central. That contest can be heard on 610 Sports. We also want to remind you that single-game tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 AM via royals.com, 1-800-6ROYALS, at the Kauffman Stadium box office and at local Hy-Vee stores. Opening Day tickets will not be available at Hy-Vee.
In today’s pictures, Eric Hosmer hustled home with an effort that received praise on Twitter from ESPN baseball writer Jerry Crasnick, who was in attendance.