Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Thu, 3/15
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 15 2012 9:40PM
Today, the Royals announced they locked up shortstop Alcides Escobar long term, signing him to a deal that guarantees him $10 million over four years, with two club option years that could bring the total value of the contract to $21.75 million over six years. A lot has been made about the Royals willingness to spend money to keep the young players they develop (or, in the case of Escobar, traded for) once they show they belong in the Majors. The deals signed by Escobar and, earlier this spring, by catcher Salvador Perez indicate the Royals are actively looking to lock up players they see as key parts of their future. The Royals are also negotiating with outfielder Alex Gordon on a long-term deal, which I think will get done by the All-Star Break.
While it’s encouraging the Royals are willing to sign their young players long term, it’s also encouraging that those young players want to sign with the Royals. It’s my understanding that both Escobar and Perez made clear to their agents that they wanted to stay with Kansas City and wanted to sign now, even though they knew they may be able to get more money a year or two from now. Gordon has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he wants to stay with the Royals. Generally speaking, if a player wants to get a deal done with his current team, that deal will get done, regardless of who their agent is. But, you have to give players a reason to want to stay with your club as well, and the Royals seem to be doing that. If the Royals start winning, even more players will want to stay in Kansas City.
Sometimes, you can tell more about a player when he’s struggling than when he’s going well. Every player has hot streaks and days when he’s on fire. But, how does a player perform when he doesn’t have his best stuff or when he gets off to a bad start? Today, Danny Duffy had a rocky first inning against the Dodgers in Glendale. He started off by walking leadoff man Dee Gordon, who promptly stole second before another pitch was thrown, catching Duffy and the rest of the Royals defense napping. After Gordon moved to third, Duffy balked him in before allowing an RBI single to Matt Kemp to go down 2-0. The second inning was much better for Duffy; after allowing back-to-back soft singles to start, he retired the next three hitters. Duffy faced only four batters in the third, working around a two-out walk.
While Duffy’s first outing of spring training, where he struck out five of the six hitters he faced, was very impressive and encouraging, quite a bit can be gleaned from today’s performance as well. Duffy admitted that, in the first inning, he was guilty of trying to be too perfect, which is why the inning got away from him. However, it’s encouraging to see Duffy realize that mistake and bounce back relatively quickly; last season, I don’t know that Duffy recovers as well.