Billy Butler, while commenting on his selection as the Royals Player of the Year, was asked if he or his agent had discussed a long-term contract with the club.
“Not that I know of,” he said. “I would hope that my agent would have called me if that would have happened. We have not been in any contact or anything along those lines. I know the Royals have a lot on their plate, trying to make the Royals better and everything like that, but obviously I have not heard of anything like that.”
Butler has 2 years and 102 days of Major League service time so he’ll cross into salary arbitration territory after next season.
Also on Monday, the Royals reinstated three players from the 60-day disabled list to their 40-man roster – outfielder Jose Guillen, shortstop Mike Aviles and pitcher Doug Waechter. That puts the roster at 39.
— Dick Kaegel
Now here’s something that you might have missed: The Baseball Bloggers Alliance has decided that Zack Greinke should win the American League Cy Young Award. This is a group of 89 bloggers that took a vote and made Zack the overwhelming winner over the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez. In fact, Greinke got all the first-place votes among the 19 blogs that voted for the AL winner.
There was good news in the Sporting News’ selection of Greinke as its Pitcher of the Year because that publication’s winner has been the same as the AL Cy Young winner since 1995.
An award is also waiting for Zack in Kansas City from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which picked him as winner of the AL Bullet Rogan Award. The NLBM’s annual awards dinner comes in January.
At any rate, the preliminary rounds of pitching awards seem to all be going to Greinke. If he doesn’t win the Cy Young on Nov. 17, it’s going to be a surprise.
Royals Billy Butler and Mark Teahen are among a group of 53 athletes nominated for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service through an agreement with All Stars Helping Kids. Fans can vote through Nov. 15 at www.allstarshelpingkids.org/teammates. It’s always good for folks to chime in with votes for our boys.
— Dick Kaegel
No surprise at all about the Royals’ top awards for September and a little piece of October. Billy Butler was the Player of the Month and Zack Greinke was Pitcher of the Month. Butler, of course, was named the American League’s top player for September and Greinke was a runner-up to the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez as AL top pitcher.
Billy batted .330 in 30 games during that September-October period with 10 doubles, six homers and 26 RBIs. His on-base percentage was .422. And, of course, he made his mark by becoming the first Major Leaguer since 1900 to have four games of three doubles each in a season. That fourth game came on Sept. 9 against the Tigers. He also had a 4-for-5, two-homer game in which he drove in all the runs in a 9-4 loss to the Twins on Sept. 25.
Zack went 4-2 in six starts with a 1.38 ERA. In 39 innings, he had 40 strikeouts and gave up 30 hits and 11 walks along with six earned runs. Opponents hit just .213 against him. The big disappointment, of course, was not getting his 17th victory in his last start against the Twins. He gave up four runs in that game but just three runs (two earned) in the previous five starts.
Another fitting honor for the final month was Joakim Soria being named winner of the Majors’ Delivery Man of the Month Award. During September he had 10 saves in 10 chances and pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings in a total of 12 games. That’s a big turnaround from his halting start which involved a stiff shoulder and time on the disabled list. Soria was happy with his 30 saves especially in light of the down time because of the shoulder and the limited save situations that came up. Soria, by the way, did not pitch in the October games.
Sorry to see John Mizerock leaving as the Royals’ bullpen coach. He logged something like 18 years in the organization and was an upbeat, fun guy who’ll be missed. He was good teacher of catchers, too, and Mike Sweeney always credited “Rock” as the guy who spurred his rise to the Majors when both were in the Minors. . . . In a front-office development, the Royals hired Michael Bucek to be vice president of marketing and business development. He’s coming from the Phoenix Coyotes in hockey but has 17 years in baseball including eight years with the White Sox and six with the Brewers. He’s a Chicago guy. . . . Top draft pick Aaron Crow is at the Arizona Instructional League in Surprise but, last we heard, he had not yet pitched in a game.
Now that the Royals have traded for Yuniesky Betancourt to fill their shortstop need and Ryan Freel to help in the outfield and infield, nothing seems bubbling.
General manager Dayton Moore was asked if more deals might be in the works before the deadline and he was noncommittal.
“At this time of year, it’s active, it’s unpredictable and things can pop up nightly as rosters change due to other trades and injuries and so forth. But right now we’re just monitoring our team and needs of others,” Moore said.
The Royals really need to do is add some offensive production to a club that has been running last in the American League in that vital category called runs scored.
What the Royals are not likely to do is part with the likes of pitchers Zack Greinke and Luke Hochevar, first baseman Billy Butler, third baseman Alex Gordon or closer Joakim Soria – the young core of their club.
“We need to hang on to our good young players as most clubs try to do so any deal we make would be centered around holding on to our good young players,” Moore said.
Vet pitcher Gil Meche isn’t likely to be on the market either although his current back woes would likely dull any interest anyhow. Brian Bannister has emerged as an effective pitcher and, at 28, he’s not really in the “super youth” category. Still, the most common names being floated, as usual, are outfielder David DeJesus and infielder-outfielder Mark Teahen.
“As you know, I won’t talk about the specifics but we’ll always be open to good baseball deals that help our team today and long-term,” Moore said.
The first replay review at Kauffman Stadium resulted in no change to the umpire’s decision on Saturday night.
The incident came as the Royals’ half of the fourth inning began against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
Billy Butler’s line drive down the left-field line into the seats was ruled a foul ball by third-base umpire Tony Randazzo. Royals manager Trey Hillman, watching from the first-base dugout, came out to question the call.
After a brief huddle, crew chief Jerry Layne and two of the other three umpires went to the tunnel next to the umpires’ room near third-base to view a replay from Major League Baseball offices in New York.
After a brief delay, Layne emerged and indicated the call was correct and play resumed.
Umpires supervisor Steve Palermo, observing from the press box, said the umpires executed the review by the book.
The replay rule was put into effect last year to aid umpires ruling on boundary calls such as fair-foul balls and fan interference.
The only three Royals players unsigned are shortstop Mike Aviles, first baseman Billy Butler and outfielder Mitch Maier.
The club announced Saturday that six players had signed contracts: pitchers Julio Pimentel and Robinson Tejeda; catcher Brayan Pena; first baseman Ryan Shealy; second baseman Alberto Callaspo, and outfielder Shane Costa.
— Dick Kaegel