According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Royals officials view Raul Ibanez as the best free agent fit for them. However, they're not likely to give him a three-year deal in the $10-12MM range. They're also reluctant to surrender their second-round pick to the Mariners.
Dutton says the Royals are "taking a hard look" at Rafael Furcal, who is the best available shortstop and doesn't cost a draft pick. However, Dutton doesn't see the Royals as the high bidder for Furcal either. The Giants, A's, and Braves are eyeing Furcal, among others. Dutton sees the Royals adding a cheaper free agent, someone of the Nick Punto/David Eckstein variety.
Also on the Royals front, Jesse Spector talks to GM Dayton Moore. Moore denied reports that he's down on Billy Butler.
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