The KC Royals have been somewhat quiet, except for the players playing in both the Arizona Fall League, winter ball, and instructional league (which is wrapping up). However there are a few pieces of information to pass along.
*The Royals have hired both Tim Conroy and Jim Fregosi as special assistants to GM Dayton Moore. Ah, Fregosi. I remember him as the Philadelphia Phillies manager back when they went to the World Series in 1993. Prior to taking the job with the Royals, Fregosi was a Major League scout with the Phillies for the last three years (he had spent the last ten years working in the organization). Conroy had been the special assistant to the GM/Major League scout with the Atlanta Braves since 2004 (another Braves connection for Moore).
**The Royals have interviewed Dave Eiland for the open pitching coach job. Eiland was the NY Yankees pitching coach from 2008-2010. He was dismissed and was an advisor with the TB Rays this past year. The Kansas City Star reported the interview, but GM Dayton Moore declined to discuss it. The Royals are looking for a pitching coach to fill the void of Bob McClure, who spent the last six years in that role, but was dismissed immediately following the end of the 2011 season.
***The Royals signed Andrew Dobies to a 2012 minor league contract. Dobies, who was plucked from independent ball in late July to bolster the NW Arkansas Naturals bullpen, struggled early but came on strong in late August. He could see time in Triple-A with a strong spring training.
****The Naturals put together a press release with all the players in the World Series that have played against the Naturals. Here is what was sent out (thanks to Frank Novak for sending it out):
One friend, Familiar Foes: The 2011 World Series which begins Wednesday evening will feature more players who have suited up against the Naturals than any Fall Classic that has occurred to date. Besides Texas Rangers’ backup catcher Matt Treanor, who was traded from the Royals to the Rangers after concluding a rehab assignment with the Naturals back in August, several players on both sides have played prominent roles in the past four seasons with Naturals’ rival Texas League clubs Springfield and Frisco. Treanor is on the active roster for the World Series alongside Rangers’ SS Elvis Andrus (Frisco, 2008), closer Neftali Feliz (2008), starting pitchers Matt Harrison (2008, 09) and Derek Holland (2008), first baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland (2009), and outfielder Craig Gentry (2008, 09), who is a Fort Smith native and played for the Razorbacks. Feliz, who came up as a starter, along with Holland did not face the Naturals at Arvest Ballpark, but Holland made one of his just four Texas League starts against the Naturals in Frisco.
From the Cardinals’ side, Game 2 starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (Springfield, 2008) made just one appearance at Arvest Ballpark, but it happened to be the first ever game the Naturals and Springfield Cardinals played against one another – April 21st, 2008, when Garcia lost a hard-luck 1-0 game to Julio Pimentel and the Naturals on a balmy April evening in the 17th game in franchise history. The two teams have faced one another 135 times since Garcia made that start. Cardinals’ reliever Lance Lynn (2009) was one of the best starters in the Texas League two seasons ago, making three starts at Arvest Ballpark and posting a 2-0 record. Set-up man Fernando Salas, the first in line of several hard-throwing Springfield Cardinals closers over the years, made appearances against the Naturals in both 2008 and 2009. Infielder Daniel Descalso hit over .300 for Springfield in 2009, while NLCS MVP David Freese, never a regular for Springfield, made rehab starts against the Naturals in Springfield in both 2009 and 2010. Lastly, starting center fielder Jon Jay (2008) was in the starting lineup at center for that April 21, 2008 first meeting between the Naturals and Cardinals, as was Allen Craig, who has seen time with the Cardinals this season but is not on the post-season roster. Outfielder Adron Chambers (2010), on the NLDS and NLCS rosters, also was removed from the roster for the World Series.
*****Speaking of the World Series, Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur predicts that the Texas Rangers will win it over the St. Louis Cardinals in six. Frenchy was a member of last year’s Rangers team that lost to the SF Giants in the World Series.
******The MLB Fan Cave will return in 2012 and signups are underway for those interested (well you can sign up for email updates at least). Maybe this time a female can be holed up in front of the TV for the entire baseball season this time? That would be my dream job. I know I am not the only one who thinks it needs a female perspective. There are die-hard female fans out there MLB!