Moustakas, Hosmer among players to attend Royals FanFest

KANSAS CITY -- Many Royals have committed to attending the Royals FanFest on Jan. 27-28 at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer, and infielders Christian Colon and Whit Merrifield are the latest to confirm that they will be in attendance.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar among adds to Venezuela's WBC '17 team

World Baseball Classic squad expected to also include Escobar, Prado, Leon

Escobar among adds to Venezuela's WBC '17 team

Team Venezuela is adding firepower to its already star-studded World Baseball Classic roster, with Ender Inciarte, Alcides Escobar, Martin Prado, Victor Martinez and Sandy Leon all expected to represent the country in the upcoming Classic, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Venezuela opens play March 10 in Jalisco, Mexico, as part of Pool D. The country won a bronze medal in the 2009 Classic, but suffered a first-round exit in 2013.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

KC's Watson called Crosby's walk-off FG

Royals director of pro scouting tight with Packers kicker

KC's Watson called Crosby's walk-off FG

KANSAS CITY -- The moment that Packers kicker Mason Crosby booted the walk-off field goal Sunday to beat the Cowboys, 34-31, and send Green Bay to the NFC title game, Gene Watson's cell phone began buzzing non-stop.

Watson, the Royals' director of pro scouting, has a special friendship with Crosby and his family. Their wives, Melanie and Karen, are close.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals announce start times for home games

Schedule includes five weekday afternoon matchups

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals will open the season with a 3:10 p.m. CT start against the Twins at Target Field on Monday, April 3, the club announced Thursday.

The Royals released their starting times for regular-season games, including a 3:15 p.m. start for the Monday, April 10 home opener vs. Oakland at Kauffman Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Mills aiming to stick with Royals

Rookie righty talks debut, journey from UT-Martin walk-on to Majors

Prospect Mills aiming to stick with Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Royals rookie right-hander Alec Mills was at the recent MLB/MLBPA Rookie Career Development Program and talked about his Major League debut last season, among other topics.

Mills, 25, pitched in three games for the Royals, posting a 13.50 ERA. But the coaching staff and front-office personnel remain high on Mills, who is Kansas City's No. 8 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy on KC: 'I wouldn't have it any other way'

Lefty signs 5-year deal to remain with Royals through early free agency

Duffy on KC: 'I wouldn't have it any other way'

KANSAS CITY -- Back in 2010, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was toiling in the Minor Leagues when he suddenly decided he'd had enough of baseball and simply quit. He packed his bags and headed for his hometown of Lompoc, Calif.

At the time, the Royals and Duffy, a third-round pick in the 2007 Draft, called the early retirement a matter of "personal issues." Before he went home, he had a chat with Royals officials Scott Sharp, J.J. Picollo and Dayton Moore.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' Almonte takes step in right direction in Dominican

Royals' Almonte takes step in right direction in Dominican

The Dominican Winter League finals began Thursday as Aguilas Cibaenas defeated Tigres del Licey, 4-3, in Game 1 of the best-of-nine series.

Despite going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the contest, Tigres shortstop Sergio Alcantara has been one of the circuit's hottest hitters in the postseason as well as a major reason his team has reached the finals. The D-backs' No. 28 prospect went 7-for-21 at the plate in six games last week to improve his playoff average to .339, the fourth-best mark in the league, while also tallying three runs scored, three RBIs and two steals.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tragedy for Volquez as brother killed in DR

Tragedy for Volquez as brother killed in DR

Brandy Volquez, younger brother of former Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez, was stabbed to death at a barbershop in Santo Domingo, according to multiple news reports out of the Dominican Republic.

Volquez, 25, was reportedly involved in a fight with two men early Monday morning. There is one person in police custody, but according to USA Today, the police have yet to reveal any further details.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Duffy's breakout suggests he could be a bargain

Career path to success reminiscent of Indians' Carrasco

Duffy's breakout suggests he could be a bargain

For years, the Royals had been waiting on Danny Duffy. They waited more than nine years since they selected him in the third round of the 2007 Draft, through a brief retirement in '10, Tommy John surgery in '12, and a career 3.80 ERA with only 352 strikeouts in 443 1/3 innings in parts of five up-and-down seasons entering '16. They waited six weeks into the '16 season to put him back in the rotation from the bullpen, and then only after Chris Young and Kris Medlen got injured.

By signing a five-year extension worth $65 million (per MLB.com sources), as they did over the weekend, the Royals made a bet that the wait is over. They bet that the Duffy we saw flashes of in 2016 is the one we'll see going forward a whole lot more than the one who was injured or inconsistent for most of his first five big league seasons. So are they right? The good news for Kansas City fans is that it's not hard to see why the Royals think they are.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals, left-hander Duffy agree to 5-year deal

Backloaded contract is worth $65 million, according to MLB.com source

Royals, left-hander Duffy agree to 5-year deal

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals locked in emerging ace lefty Danny Duffy to a five-year deal worth $65 million on Monday.

Duffy, who could have been a free agent after 2017, will be due $5 million in '17, $14 million in '18, $15.25 million in both '19 and '20 and $15.5 million in '21, according to an MLB.com source.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Starling among Pipeline's top defenders in outfield

Padres' Margot garners most votes for best defensive prospect

Starling among Pipeline's top defenders in outfield

These days, there may be more value placed on defense and certainly more time spent on evaluating and quantifying it than ever before. When MLBPipeline.com surveyed front-office officials as to which prospects stood out most for their glovework, there was no shortage of candidates.

In fact, there were so many talented defenders that among the 18 votes we received, no player garnered more than Padres outfielder Manuel Margot's three and a half. Thirteen players received at least a half a vote -- we allowed executives to split their picks -- and another five were brought up as worthy of discussion.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Approaching Majors, Zimmer eyes family matchup

Indians' top prospect could soon face older brother Kyle, a Royals prospect

Approaching Majors, Zimmer eyes family matchup

CLEVELAND -- Brad and Kyle Zimmer have talked about it plenty of times. Someday, and perhaps not too far off in the future, the brothers might get to face each other in the Majors. Brad is a fast-rising outfield prospect in the Indians' system, while Kyle is working his way up the Royals' organizational ladder.

If the stars align just right -- with Brad forcing Cleveland's hand and Kyle having a strong comeback from surgery last summer to address thoracic outlet syndrome -- the brothers could clash as American League Central rivals at some point in 2017. It might be more likely that the Zimmer boys will realize their childhood dream in '18. No matter when that moment arrives, Brad has an idea of how his older brother will pitch him.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals, Hosmer avoid arb with 1-year deal

Royals, Hosmer avoid arb with 1-year deal

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have agreed on a one-year deal, thus avoiding arbitration, the club announced.

A source told MLB.com the deal is worth $12.25 million. Hosmer made $8.25 million in 2016.

The Royals still have pending arbitration cases with left-hander Danny Duffy and closer Kelvin Herrera. Duffy and the Royals continue to explore a long-term deal, as MLB.com has previously reported. Duffy made $4.225 million in 2016. Herrera made $2.55 million in 2016.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bo among legends, scouts honored at PBSF banquet

Bo among legends, scouts honored at PBSF banquet

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Baseball's unsung heroes were saluted Saturday night at the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation's 14th annual "In the Spirit of the Game" awards banquet, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Bo Jackson received the "A Scout's Dream Award," presented by former Kansas City Royals teammate and Hall of Famer George Brett, who called the two-sport star the greatest athlete he had ever seen. Brett insisted Jackson would be in the baseball Hall of Fame, if he hadn't switched to football and suffered a devastating hip injury.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Q&A: Get to know assistant hitting coach Buchanan

Q&A: Get to know assistant hitting coach Buchanan

KANSAS CITY -- One of the subtle offseason moves the Royals made was promoting Double-A Northwest Arkansas hitting coach Brian Buchanan to the Major League staff to assist hitting coach Dale Sveum.

Just who is Buchanan? He is a 43-year-old former outfielder/first baseman for the Twins, Padres and Mets who originally was drafted by the Yankees. In parts of five seasons, he hit .258 with 32 home runs.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kuntz confident Soler will become solid outfielder

KC coach's teachings aided Gordon, Cain and Dyson

Kuntz confident Soler will become solid outfielder

KANSAS CITY -- One of the reasons that general manager Dayton Moore made the trade for outfielder Jorge Soler was because of his faith in Royals outfield coach Rusty Kuntz.

Soler is generally regarded as an average to below-average defensive player. Kuntz is regarded throughout baseball as one of the best outfield teachers, with proteges from Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon to Lorenzo Cain to Jarrod Dyson.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals set Minor League staffs for 2017

Royals set Minor League staffs for 2017

The Royals announced their 2017 Minor League staff assignments on Friday, with many familiar faces returning to similar roles.

Triple-A Omaha manager Brian Poldberg's staff remains almost intact from last season, with pitching coach Andy Hawkins, hitting coach Tommy Gregg and athletic trainer Dave Iannicca returning for 2017. Phil Falco is the only newcomer, joining Omaha as the strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at the Major League level with the Atlanta Braves for the past nine seasons.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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5 vet pitchers among Royals' spring invitees

5 vet pitchers among Royals' spring invitees

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals once again will go heavy on reclamation projects at Spring Training, as they have offered invites to veteran left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, and veteran right-handers Al Alburquerque, Brandon League, Bobby Parnell and Chris Withrow.

Former Red Sox corner infielder Garin Cecchini also is one of 22 non-roster invitees.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals acquire Karns from Mariners for Dyson

Moore says righty will battle for No. 5 spot in K.C. rotation

Royals acquire Karns from Mariners for Dyson

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Friday traded outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the Mariners for right-handed starter Nathan Karns.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Karns, 29, will compete for the club's No. 5 spot in the rotation. The Texas Tech product was a 12th-round pick of the Nationals in the 2009 Draft.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who will be Royals' No. 5 starter?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from Kansas City fans

Inbox: Who will be Royals' No. 5 starter?

KANSAS CITY -- Spring Training is roughly six weeks away, and Kansas City fans have plenty of questions about the 2017 Royals.

So let's get to it, with the first Inbox of the new year.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brett, Ryan, Yount formed historic '99 Hall class

Trio marked largest group of first-ballot inductees to Cooperstown

Brett, Ryan, Yount formed historic '99 Hall class

It's been just under two decades since George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of a historic class.

Thursday marks the 18th anniversary of the election of the Hall of Fame Class of 1999, which included an unprecedented three first-ballot inductees in Brett, Ryan and Yount. The class also featured four selections by the Veterans Committee: Orlando Cepeda, Nestor Chylak, Frank Selee and Joe Williams.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez the latest reclamation project in KC?

Sanchez the latest reclamation project in KC?

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are hoping Round 2 with left-hander Jonathan Sanchez goes significantly better.

Sanchez was signed by the Royals to a Minor League deal last month. The 34-year-old has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2013 when in five games with the Pirates, he posted an 11.85 ERA and a 2.42 WHIP.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals acquire slugger O'Brien from D-backs

KC sends Minor League righty Lewis to Arizona

Royals acquire slugger O'Brien from D-backs

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals added to their organizational depth and possibly to their designated-hitter competition by acquiring 26-year-old Peter O'Brien from the D-backs on Tuesday for Minor League right-hander Sam Lewis.

O'Brien is a catcher-turned-outfielder who projects more as a designated hitter type, which likely is why he was available after the D-backs designated him for assignment last month.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

KC poised for bounce-back season in 2017

KC poised for bounce-back season in 2017

KANSAS CITY -- Faced with the mandate of trimming payroll yet remaining competitive for 2017, Royals general manager Dayton Moore made the difficult move of trading All-Star closer Wade Davis to the Cubs for promising outfielder Jorge Soler at the Winter Meetings.

The move trimmed about $7 million off the payroll, which now projects to be just under $140 million and perhaps in the comfort zone of ownership.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy, rookies shine in Royals' rocky '16

KC falls short of postseason as injuries, fatigue take toll

Duffy, rookies shine in Royals' rocky '16

KANSAS CITY -- The defending World Series-champion Royals arrived in Surprise, Ariz., last February with full intentions of a third straight trip to the World Series.

Ownership and management went all in, re-signing Alex Gordon, the face of the franchise, to a four-year, $72 million deal. Right-hander Ian Kennedy was signed (five years, $70 million) to strengthen the rotation and reliever Joakim Soria (three years, $25 million) was added to an already strong bullpen.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5 pitchers who dropped off Hall ballot too soon

5 pitchers who dropped off Hall ballot too soon

MLB.com has already taken a look at some of the more surprising position players to go one-and-done in Hall of Fame balloting. Next up are the pitchers.

Players eligible for election to the Hall of Fame need 75 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America to be enshrined in Cooperstown; they only need 5 percent to reserve a spot on the ballot for the following year. But not all candidates hit that mark, and many have dropped off the ballot after only one year. Many more will do so again in the future.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Are Royals feeling Merri for 2017?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers Kansas City fans' questions

Inbox: Are Royals feeling Merri for 2017?

KANSAS CITY -- The end of 2016 is approaching, and Spring Training is less than two months away. So let's do one final Royals Inbox for the year.

Happy holidays everyone and here goes:

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.