Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-04-24T18:01:04Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Injury/Rehab Notes: D. Duffy, Honeywell, Chisenhall]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156636 2019-04-20T20:48:29Z 2019-04-20T19:28:38Z Danny Duffy is scheduled to make what could be his final rehab appearance tonight for AA-Northwest Arkansas, writes the Kansas City Star’s Lynn Worthy. Though the 30-year-old had initially expressed interest in returning to the club as a reliever, GM Dayton Moore prefers the lefty return to a patchwork rotation: “That’s the natural question to ask for a lot of reasons as we’re looking for more consistency in our bullpen and you want to put quality arms in the back end, but we’ve gotta have guys that can start. We’ve gotta have guys that can go out there and set the tone every fifth day. We’ll be open-minded as we go forward.” Both units are again in shambles for a struggling Royals club, though the nightmare bullpen – last in the AL in all relevant park-adjusted metrics – is arguably in more dire need. Duffy’s 2018 season was his worst in years, but the eight-year MLB vet remains far and away the most talented arm on the 12-man Royal staff.

In more injury and rehab news from around the game…

  • Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, on the mend from a February 2018 Tommy John surgery, couldn’t make it through his first start in extended spring training without a setback, Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times was among those to report. The 24-year-old, who was on track for a late-May/early-June return to competition, felt soreness in his forearm, the same symptom that was a surgery precursor 14 months ago. The team was quick to note that it’s “fairly common” for TJ rehabbers to experience similar issues, though the thinly-veiled unease wasn’t hard to detect. Honeywell be shut down indefinitely for the time being, though there’s no word on whether or not the club will ask him to shelve his said-to-be arm-shredding screwball, which has baffled minor leaguers high and low throughout his professional tenure.
  • The Pirates lost another outfielder to injury yesterday in center fielder Starling Marte, the club’s fourth in an early-season string of maladies at the positions. Offseason acquisition Lonnie Chisenhall, though, is finally on the mend: the 30-year-old began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis yesterday, and appears set to rejoin the club in the coming days.  The oft-injured lefty will apparently see time at third base and first base, in addition to the corner outfield spots, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry, and will look to add his much-improved bat (128 wRC+ over his last 365 MLB PA) to a surging Pirate club.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[MLB To Issue Suspensions Stemming From Royals/White Sox Altercation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156549 2019-04-19T18:51:34Z 2019-04-19T18:51:34Z Major League Baseball will announce a series of suspensions following this week’s brawl between the White Sox and the Royals, per reports from ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links). Royals right-hander Brad Keller will receive a five-game ban for throwing at White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, while Anderson himself will be hit with a one-game ban “because of language used during the benches-clearing incident with Kansas City,” per Passan. Rosenthal adds that White Sox skipper Rick Renteria will receive a one-game suspension as well.

The benches-clearing incident in question — “brawl” is a questionable term for the majority of MLB on-field altercations — began with a Tim Anderson bat flip following a fourth-inning home run against Keller. Upon making contact, Anderson turned to his dugout, flipped the bat toward them and, as he tells it, yelled “let’s go” to fire up his teammates. Keller, taking exception to the showmanship, took the “old-school, unwritten rules” route and hit Anderson in with a pitch (on the hip/butt) in his next plate appearance. As is the case in every such instance, Keller transparently claimed after the game (and in an appearance on MLB Network this morning) that he was simply trying to bust Anderson inside, and a pitch “got away” from him.

The Anderson suspension is particularly surprising, as the only previous instances of a player being suspended for language have stemmed from using on-field slurs that transcend pure profanity. Passan, however, further tweets that Anderson was suspended for “racially charged” language heard by the umpiring crew. Keller’s suspension is standard in the case of pitchers throwing at players. While the suspension will cost Keller five times as much in terms of pay and MLB service time, suspensions for starting pitchers are always in five-game increments due to the fact that they ensure a pitcher will miss a start. (A suspension of one to four games wouldn’t necessarily cause a starter to miss any time at all.)

The debate over intentional plunkings has been ongoing for years, as traditionalists advocate for the upholding of “the code” of unwritten rules that has long been woven into the fabric of the game’s history. Detractors point to the fact that throwing at someone on purpose has the potential to seriously injure a player; it’s common to see pitchers badly miss a spot even when trying to throw a pitch for a strike, and it seems almost inevitable that an intentional beaning will eventually lead to a fractured wrist, concussion, etc.

Incidents like this one are now the source of further scrutiny given MLB’s “Let the kids play” marketing slogan, kicked off by an ad in which Ken Griffey Jr. calls for those “unwritten rules” to be thrown out in favor of players showing emotion on the field with celebrations for home runs, key strikeouts and other big moments. Commissioner Rob Manfred has been vocal about wanting to appeal to a younger generation of fans, and that campaign seems a key part of the effort. A second such ad aired leading up to the 2019 season, and MLB’s official Twitter account even tweeted the slogan in support of Anderson this week. If the league simply wanted to continue allowing players to “police themselves,” it wouldn’t be a surprising outcome to see them maintain the status quo. Continuing to administer a punishment that has proven meaningless, however, sends a contradictory message to the one they’re pushing in their marketing.

The debate isn’t confined solely to the game’s fan-base, of course. Players have been weighing in on the matter all week. CC Sabathia plainly stated on Buster Olney’s podcast this week (audio link) that he’s 100 percent in favor of bat flips and any other display of on-field emotion and doesn’t understand why a pitcher would be bothered by it. Reds lefty Amir Garrett tweeted that rather than throw at a batter in his next plate appearance, the pitcher should, “Strike him out, and do whatever you gotta do. Fist pump, moonwalk, cartwheel.” On the other side of the coin, Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk tweeted that players have gotten “excessive” with their celebrations and called for more stoicism.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Gordon Could Retire After Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156199 2019-04-14T22:11:20Z 2019-04-14T22:11:20Z Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has considered retiring after 2019, the last guaranteed season of his four-year, $72MM contract, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic reports (subscription required). That decision’s on hold for the time being, but now the question is whether the career-long Royal, 35, will finish the season with the club. Gordon has gotten off to such a superb start this year that Dodd notes he could emerge as a viable in-season trade candidate for the rebuilding Royals. But Gordon has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he’d be able to kibosh any trade, and his lofty salary ($20MM this year and a $4MM buyout in 2020) further complicates matters. While Gordon was an indispensable piece for the Royals in his younger days, his production has fallen flat since he received his contract. However, as Dodd explains, Gordon may have revived his career thanks to a mechanical adjustment he made last August. Gordon ended 2018 on a positive note and has come back with a vengeance this year, evidenced by his .356/.456/.667 line with three home runs and more walks (seven) than strikeouts (five) in 57 plate appearances. He has already totaled 1.0 fWAR, compared to a paltry 0.5 in 1,057 PA from 2016-17.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Return Chris Ellis To Cardinals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155882 2019-04-09T20:30:12Z 2019-04-09T20:30:12Z The Royals announced Tuesday that Rule 5 pick Chris Ellis has cleared waivers and returned to the Cardinals organization. The right-hander will head to a minor league affiliate (without occupying a spot on the 40-man roster), though the Cardinals’ announcement of the move did not specify the affiliate to which Ellis is headed.

Ellis, 26, was a roster casualty when the Royals selected the contract of Homer Bailey. Though Kansas City manager Ned Yost stated that the organization tried to get as long a look as possible at Ellis, he was designated for assignment after just one scoreless outing to begin the season. Ellis was hit hard during Spring Training, though, allowing 10 runs on 16 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts through 10 Cactus League frames.

Originally a third-round pick of the Angels back in 2014, Ellis went to the Braves alongside Sean Newcomb in the Andrelton Simmons blockbuster before making his way to the Cardinals in the trade that sent Jaime Garcia to Atlanta. He was torched in his first two brief exposures to the Triple-A level but had a solid season there in 2018 when he pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 79 innings of work. He’ll likely head back to Triple-A Memphis to continue working toward a spot with the Cards at the MLB level.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Select Contract Of Richard Lovelady]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155854 2019-04-09T20:09:00Z 2019-04-09T19:12:53Z The Royals have selected the contract of lefty Richard Lovelady, as Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM first reported (Twitter link). Right-hander Heath Fillmyer is also on his way up to the active roster.

To create active roster space, the Kansas City organization has optioned down lefty Tim Hill and righty Kevin McCarthy. Both of those hurlers were knocked around in yestreday’s loss.

Lovelady, 23, took an open 40-man spot, so a corresponding move was not rquired there. In some respects, it’s surprising that it has taken him this long to make it up to the majors, as Lovelady has already produced stellar results for three full seasons at all levels of the minors.

Last year, Lovelady mowed down Triple-A hitters in 73 innings over 46 appearances. He finished with a 2.47 ERA and 8.8 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9. He was impressive again this spring, turning in an 11:3 K/BB ratio and allowing just two earned runs in 8 2/3 frames, and has already turned in two more quality outings at the highest level of the minors.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Drew Storen Still Not Close To Returning]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155724 2019-04-07T16:57:05Z 2019-04-07T16:57:05Z
  • It appears reliever Drew Storen is still far away from potentially joining the Royals’ bullpen, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. Storen, who’s on his way back from 2017 Tommy John surgery, is currently building up arm strength in extended spring training. The 31-year-old signed a minors deal with the Royals in February, meaning he was never guaranteed to crack their bullpen. However, if the horrendous performance Kansas City’s relief corps has turned in thus far is any indication, Storen could get a chance in if he returns to health.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Select Homer Bailey, Designate Chris Ellis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155420 2019-04-03T16:11:50Z 2019-04-03T14:38:50Z The Royals have selected the contract of righty Homer Bailey, who’ll slide into the club’s rotation. To create roster space, righty Chris Ellis was designated for assignment.

    Bailey, who’s a month from his 33rd birthday, will try to resurrect his career in Kansas City. He earned the chance after turning in 13 1/3 innings of 4.05 ERA ball in camp, with 7.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Once a quality rotation piece with the Reds, Bailey has struggled to a 6.25 ERA in just 231 2/3 innings over the past four seasons while dealing with significant arm issues.

    As for Ellis, the 26-year-old just made his first MLB appearance after winning a spot out of camp as a Rule 5 pick. He’ll be offered back to the Cardinals if he isn’t claimed. Ellis has spent most of his time in the minors as a starter. Last year, he pitched to a 3.93 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over 132 2/3 innings with the Cards’ top two affiliates.

    On the face of things, this transaction isn’t a terribly significant one. Rule 5 picks are dropped with quite some frequency, after all, and veteran starters such as Bailey are often tapped for innings. But the Royals evidently found something to like in Ellis, with skipper Ned Yost saying that the club wanted to “give it a full look” because they liked his stuff. (Via Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star, on Twitter.) If that’s truly the case, it’s a bit odd that the organization couldn’t find room for Ellis on a roster that includes several low-upside veteran pitchers and a bizarre bench mix featuring two first basemen/designated hitters (Lucas Duda and Frank Schwindel, who supplement Ryan O’Hearn and Jorge Soler) and an outfielder who’s known almost exclusively as a pinch runner and defensive replacement (Terrance Gore).

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Acquire Andrew Susac]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155350 2019-04-02T20:02:36Z 2019-04-02T19:46:27Z The Royals have acquired backstop Andrew Susac from the Orioles, per a club announcement. Cash considerations are heading to Baltimore in return.

    Susac, 29, was dropped from the 40-man roster earlier this year and failed to crack the Baltimore roster in camp. He has seen minimal MLB action in the past several seasons and accumulated just three hundred total plate appearances in five seasons of action.

    With several other options available at Triple-A, the O’s obviously felt they could part with the depth. Susac will give the Royals some experience at their top affiliate. He’ll also provide organizational depth, though he’s out of options and therefore cannot be shuttled up and down with ease.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Likely To Add Bailey To Rotation This Week]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155202 2019-04-01T16:45:11Z 2019-04-01T16:45:11Z The Royals are still listing Wednesday’s starter as TBA, but the nod will likely go to former Reds right-hander Homer Bailey, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Bailey threw in a minor league game late last week and built up to 6 1/3 innings, and he was already in the team’s clubhouse over the weekend. Flanagan further tweets that the Royals have at least discussed the possibility of pursuing recently released Marlins right-hander Dan Straily or recently designated Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan (a former Royals first-round pick), but neither move is likely to come to fruition. The organization, it would seem, is committed to giving Bailey a look with its lone open 40-man roster spot. It’s hard to imagine that a team in the Royals’ position couldn’t clear some additional 40-man room should they see fit, so perhaps the organization simply isn’t that interested in either Straily or Finnegan.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Select Lucas Duda, Release Brian Goodwin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=154471 2019-03-25T18:03:51Z 2019-03-25T18:03:51Z 1:03pm: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that Duda’s deal with the Royals carries a $1.25MM base salary and another $250K available via incentives.

    12:44pm: The Royals announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran first baseman Lucas Duda and requested unconditional release waivers on outfielder Brian Goodwin. Duda will make the Kansas City Opening Day roster, while the out-of-options Goodwin, who’d previously been viewed as a strong candidate to log ample time in right field this coming season, will become a free agent if and when he clears release waivers in 48 hours.

    Duda, 33, spent most of the spring with the division-rival Twins but opted out of his minor league pact with Minnesota last week when it became clear that he wouldn’t make the club as a bench bat. He’ll now open his second consecutive season with the Royals, who signed Duda to a one-year, $3.5MM contract in the 2017-18 offseason. Duda spent the first five months of last season with the Royals and hit .242/.310/.413 before being acquired by the Braves in exchange for cash on Aug. 29. Thus far in Spring Training, he’s posted a .250/.386/.417 slash through 44 PAs between Minnesota and Kansas City.

    The Royals haven’t commented on what role Duda will play with the club, but the presence of a younger player with a similar skill set, Ryan O’Hearn, makes it seem likely that Duda will start the season as either a bench bat, joining Cam Gallagher, Terrance Gore and Chris Owings, or as a part-time designated hitter.

    Spring Training was a disaster for the 28-year-old Goodwin, whom the Royals acquired in a trade with the Nationals last July. Goodwin appeared in 17 games for the Royals and took 49 plate appearances but slashed .166/.188/.256 with 13 strikeouts against four walks. His .266/.317/.415 output in 101 plate appearances with Kansas City last season gave the Royals a bit of cause for intrigue, but they’ll now entrust right field to a combination of Soler, Owings and Gore early in the season. It’s possible that they’ll try to bring Goodwin back on a minor league contract, though he’ll also have the opportunity to field interest from other clubs once his waiver period expires.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Danny Duffy Open To Becoming Reliever]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=154290 2019-03-24T02:01:25Z 2019-03-24T02:01:25Z
  • Royals lefty Danny Duffy told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com this week he’d “love” to shift to a relief role eventually. For now, though, Duffy remains a starter. “We’ve had discussions, but they haven’t gone further than that. As long as I’m helping the team in some capacity, that’s all I want and that’s all they want,” said Duffy, who’s likely to start the season on the IL because of shoulder tightness. Shoulder issues were also a problem last year for Duffy, who didn’t take the mound past Sept. 4. It was an underwhelming season before that for Duffy, as the 30-year-old only managed a 4.88 ERA/4.70 FIP with 8.19 K/9, 4.06 BB/9 and a 35.4 percent groundball rate over 155 innings. Still, given the success Duffy has had as a starter (which helped him net a five-year, $65MM extension in January 2017), it’s an eye-opener that he’s so willing to change roles. Duffy has thrived in 34 2/3 frames as a reliever, though, having registered a 2.08 ERA/2.02 FIP with 11/42 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Sign Lucas Duda]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=154109 2019-03-22T20:45:23Z 2019-03-22T20:45:23Z The Royals have inked veteran first baseman Lucas Duda to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. He had been cut loose recently by the Twins.

    Duda, 33, played with Kansas City last year. Though he failed to return to his prior levels of output, he turned in a nearly league-average slash line (.241/.313/.418) and obviously left a good impression before he was traded late in the year to the Braves.

    In 3,462 plate appearances with the Mets, the left-handed-hitting slugger put up a strong .246/.343/.457 output and knocked 125 home runs. He was a substantially above-average bat as recently as the middle of the 2017 campaign.

    While things have turned south since, Duda still seems a reasonable candidate to reemerge as a quality option against right-handed pitching. That said, it’s tough to see where he fits on a Kansas City roster that features another left-handed-hitting first baseman in Ryan O’Hearn.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Shift Ian Kennedy To Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153766 2019-03-20T13:33:22Z 2019-03-20T13:33:22Z The Royals announced yesterday that they will utilize veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy as a reliever this year, as Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star was among those to report.

    Kennedy, 34, says he’s up for the switch despite having made only a pair of prior relief appearances way back in 2008-09. In the intervening nine seasons, Kennedy has taken the ball to open 277 MLB contests.

    Last year was the first season since 2009 in which Kennedy failed to make thirty starts. It also represented a confirmation of his struggles from the season prior. In total, over his past 273 2/3 innings, Kennedy has mustered only a 5.06 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and 1.8 HR/9.

    Kennedy’s still throwing as hard as before and appears to be getting similar movement on his pitches, but the league has clearly figured him out. His swinging-strike rate has dwindled down to 8.2% and opposing hitters have made hard contact on about four in ten balls in play over the past two seasons.

    Frankly, these developments aren’t altogether surprising for a hurler who hit the 2015-16 market as a highly durable but rarely dominant middle/back-of-the-rotation arm. Kennedy was an accomplished hurler and drew mid-3 ERA equivalency grades from xFIP and SIERA in the two seasons before he reached free agency. Still, he had long battled home run problems that led to inconsistent results despite generally excellent K/BB numbers.

    Even in that very different market setting — several other pitchers secured very large deals that winter with less-than-dominant track records — Kennedy’s five-year, $70MM contract was surprising. As former MLBTR scribe Charlie Wilmoth put it, “the financial outlay of the deal looks rather generous even before considering the opt-out.” Entering the offseason, we had predicted four years and $52MM.

    The Kansas City organization knew the risks, but understandably wanted maximize its chances of winning another World Series after capturing a crown in a magical 2015 season. Kennedy did manage nearly two hundred innings of 3.68 ERA ball in the first year of his deal, but the peripherals told a different story.

    Now, the Royals are paying what’s left of the tab for doubling down on a historic contention window. Kennedy accounts for two hefty line items: $16.5MM salaries in 2019 and 2020.

    Looking at the present roster, bumping Kennedy will somewhat ironically open the door for Homer Bailey to join the starting staff. The oft-injured hurler is still due $23MM this year along with a $5MM buyout on what was once a 2020 option. Bailey was cut loose by the Dodgers entering the final year of the big extension that he signed with the Reds and which was shipped to Los Angeles this winter. The K.C. org will owe him only the MLB minimum.

    Bailey will get a shot at redemption in Kansas City. Kennedy, meanwhile, will try to carve out a second act as a reliever while remaining available as a depth option should a rotation need arise.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Still Sorting Out Right Field Playing Time]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153572 2019-03-18T18:43:01Z 2019-03-18T18:43:01Z
  • The Royals are still trying to determine which of the several right field options they have in camp will make the roster, writes Rustin Dodd of The Athletic (subscription required). Manager Ned Yost has said that Jorge Soler will be in the lineup nearly everyday, splitting time between DH and right field, but the Royals still have Brian Goodwin, Brett Phillips and Jorge Bonifacio as candidates for significant innings in right. None of that trio has had a good spring, however, and Goodwin is out of minor league options. Terrance Gore, on the active roster after signing a big league deal this winter, is viewed as more of a bench option than a candidate to log many starts in the outfield. There will likely be occasional at-bats at the other outfield slots, but Alex Gordon and Billy Hamilton will get the bulk of the playing time in left field and center field, respectively. Dodd ultimately runs through the entire lineup and pitching staff in making his projections as to which 25 players will break camp and comprise the Opening Day roster.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Jason Adam; Devon Travis, Mark Leiter Jr. Undergo Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=153478 2019-03-17T14:11:36Z 2019-03-17T13:38:12Z The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Jason Adam from the Royals for cash considerations, Scott Mitchell of TSN reports. Additionally, the Blue Jays announced notable injury news regarding second baseman Devon Travis and right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tweets. Travis underwent arthroscopic surgery “to address a small meniscus tear in his left knee” and will be reassessed in four to six weeks, while Leiter will miss the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

    Adam, a Kansas native, is leaving the Royals via trade for the second time since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. They previously dealt Adam to the Twins in 2014 for slugger Josh Willingham, only to bring him back on a minor league contract in 2017 following a stint with the Padres. After overcoming multiple serious injuries to his arm, as ESPN’s Keith Law explained last May, Adam made his major league debut in 2018 and recorded a subpar 6.12 ERA/6.16 FIP over 32 1/3 innings and 31 appearances. At the same time, though, the 27-year-old did manage playable strikeout and walk numbers (10.3 K/9, 4.18 BB/9).

    As is the case with Adam, injuries have been a major problem during Travis’ pro career. Left knee inflammation sidelined the 28-year-old for a couple weeks before he underwent surgery, making it the latest lower body issue for a player who hasn’t appeared in more than 103 games in a major league season since debuting in 2015. Notably, Travis totaled just 50 appearances in 2017 on account of right knee surgery. He didn’t perform well last year in a 378-plate appearance return, over which he hit just .232/.275/.381 (77 wRC+). As a result, the Jays weren’t guaranteeing a starting job to Travis entering camp. It’s a moot point now, though, as Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Freddy Galvis and Richard Urena appear likely to open the season as the Jays’ top middle infield options.

    Leiter, 28, joined Toronto last September via waivers from the Phillies, but the Blue Jays ended up designating him for assignment and then outrighting him over the winter. While Leiter garnered extensive experience with the Phillies in 2017, when he amassed 90 2/3 innings and put up a 4.96 ERA/5.14 FIP, a flexor strain helped limit him to just 51 2/3 frames between the majors and minors last year. In 23 1/3 innings divided between Philly and Toronto, he only managed a 7.71 ERA/6.98 FIP.