Royals Spring Training Update (and links) 3/3/12: Perez signs extension, Aaron Crow, Jeffers in trouble (no drugs this time), Intrasquad, MLB expands playoffs

With college basketball in full swing, we have neglected the Royals. Spring Training is under way and I already have Royals fever.

On Monday, the Royals announced a “Major Announcement” was coming. Everyone assumed Alex Gordon had signed a long-term contract extension. Then we learned it wasn’t him. Was it a Roy Oswalt signing? No. Hosmer or Moustakas? No. We were all stunned to find out that 21-year old catcher Salvador Perez – who had played just 38 games for KC last season and just 59 games over AA – had signed a very club-friendly extension worth $7 million over five years, with three club options that could keep him in Kansas City through 2019, with the last two years being free agent years.

Dayton Moore said catcher is the “most important position on the field” and when manager Ned Yost was asked to compare Perez to someone, he kept saying, “Salvador Perez.”

Yost was so impressed with Perez last spring that he wanted him to make the team as a 20-year old, but Moore wouldn’t allow it, saying he was defensive ready, but not offensively. All he did in his call-up was hit .333. If he is a .275 hitter, I will be thrilled.

Rany on the Royals: Perezence

The paragraph that stands out the most in Rany’s blog:

Perez’s contract runs through 2016. At the end of that season, he will have made less money in his career – all the way back to his signing bonus in Venezuela – than Bubba Starling was guaranteed on the day he signed. Starling was worth $7.5 million even though there’s a lot of risk with him. How could anyone argue that Perez, who has already earned the job of everyday catcher in the majors, isn’t worth $7 million over the next five years?

KC Star:  Perez signing may help lock-up other Royals

Could the Perez help sign up other young Royals? The article mentions Hosmer being “open” to a long-term deal.

Danny Duffy reacted on Twitter after the Perez deal, saying, “Bury me a Royal.”

A day later the left hander, who was the last player on the 40-man roster without a contract, agreed to a one-year deal for $487,750.

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Aaron Crow, who surprisingly made the team last spring, then was the set-up man for the majority of the season, earning an All-Star selection, before faltering late because of overuse.

Now, the Royals plan to test Crow as a starter. Crow has been a starter his entire professional career. If he does not make the rotation a serious question becomes, does Crow go back to the bullpen (Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke) or does he do down to Omaha and work as a starter?

The Royals signed former closer Jonathan Broxton to a contract in the offseason and the emergence of Greg Holland gives the Royals the luxury of not having to feel like they HAVE to put Crow in the bullpen.

KC Star: Crow seeks to become full-time starter

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Pitcher Jeremy Jeffers had a run in with the law, with three counts of domestic abuse. But, hey, at least it was not another drug offense…

KC Star: Jeffers acknowledges domestic abuse

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Intrasquad Games

Thursday: The Blue beat the White 5-4 in 6 ½ innings.

Notes: Sean O’Sullivan got bombed – what else is new – for five runs in the first inning.

Alex Gordon went 2-for-2 with a two-run first inning single for the Blue.

Billy Butler went 2-for-3 and made a dazzling defensive play at first base on a Eric Hosmer hard grounder for the Blue.

Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella, who are supposedly battling for the second base job (I will puke if it is Getz. If Johnny-G doesn’t make the squad how about the Royals, you know, sign a real MLB 2B because Getz isn’t it.) both had two hits.

Recently signed Salvador Perez joined Butler in producing two-run doubles in the five-run first inning. The rally was started by a Lorenzo Cain infield single on a basic grounder to second that set-up the Royals with first and second and nobody out, bringing #CountryBreakfast up.

13 Pitchers took the hill and manager Ned Yost raved about lefty Tim Collins.

“Pretty impressive,” manager Ned Yost said of Collins, who walked 48 batters in 67 innings. “He didn’t elevate one pitch until the last pitch of the inning, which was a pitch he elevated on purpose to strike a hitter out. He commanded every pitch that he threw.”

The Royals signed Jose Mijares in the offseason to be the situational lefty. If Collins does not throw strikes this offseason, he will be shipped down to Omaha.

KC Star: Collins looks sharp

Friday: Brayan Pena’s two-run triple off Joakim Soria led the White to a 3-0 victory Friday in Surprise.

“This early in spring,” Peña said, “you know everyone wants to work on their fastball. What usually makes Soria so tough is you don’t know what’s coming.”

Giavotella followed with a single in what was otherwise a day of pitching and defense.

Bruce Chen started for the Blue, and he was so effective, he came back for a second inning of work, but was pulled after allowing two hits.

“My command was good,” Chen said, “and my arm feels great.”

Alcides Escobar had two hits and had a great diving catch in the field, as did outfielders Wil Myers and Lorenzo Cain.

KC Star: Pena’s two-run triple highlights intrasquad

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The MLB expanded its playoff format, adding one more wild card team in each league, with the two wild card teams playing a one-game playoff for the right to play the No. 1 seed.

Yost says it will not change the Royals approach.

“I have not thought for one split-second about an extra playoff spot,” he said. “I have no opinion on it. They want to put one in, fine. They don’t want to put one in, fine. My goal is not to make the one-game playoff. My goal is to win a world championship.”

KC Star: MLB expands playoffs

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Follow Chen on Twitter

Chen, aided by teammate Everett Teaford and 610 Sports Nick Wright, joined the twitter generation prior to Thursday’s workout.

Chen had more than 2,000 followers in less than 30 minutes.

Chen admitted he’s already addicted. You can follow him at @ChenMusic.

His first tweet: “This is my first tweet ever!” followed one minute later by: “Does this mean that I lost my tweetirginity?”

Awesome. Just about as good as his jokes.

Other Royals links

KC Star: Toe-tap, swing path and other terms explained

KC Star: Royals Yost taking the training

KC Star: This season could start to change perception of David Glass

As evidence of how far the Royals have come, check out this awesome Box Score from a 2006 at Yankee Stadium.

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