Kansas City Royals Rumors

Kansas City Royals trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Marlins Acquire Aaron Crow

The Marlins have acquired right-hander Aaron Crow from the Royals in exchange for left-hander Brian Flynn and minor league righty Reid Redman, the teams announced.

Aaron Crow

Crow, 28, has considerably more big league experience than the 24-year-old Flynn. Crow has spent the past four seasons as a setup man for manager Ned Yost, pitching with great effectiveness from 2011-13. In his first three years with the Royals, Crow posted a 3.19 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate north of 50 percent.

However, the typically hard-throwing former No. 12 overall pick struggled this year as his velocity dropped. Crow posted a career-worst 4.12 ERA with a career-low 5.2 K/9 rate against 3.7 BB/9 in 59 innings this past season. His ground-ball rate dipped to a career-low 43.2 percent as well. On the plus side, he didn’t miss any time due to injuries, so if the Marlins saw something in Crow’s delivery that they feel can be fixed, they could have a nice bullpen piece on their hands at a relatively modest price. Crow is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2MM in 2015, though his struggles did make him a non-tender candidate. It’s possible that with today’s signing of Jason Frasor, the Royals felt they had found a cheaper solution to their middle relief needs. With exactly four years of service time under his belt, Crow can be controlled by the Marlins for an additional two seasons.

The Marlins originally acquired Flynn from the Tigers along with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly in the trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. Since being acquired by Miami, Flynn has seen a couple of brief Major League stints, allowing 24 runs in 25 innings with a 21-to-16 K/BB ratio. Those numbers aren’t the most impressive, obviously, but he has a considerably better minor league track record and has been a mainstay on Marlins top prospect lists. Heading into the season, Baseball America ranked him sixth among Fish farmhands, while MLB.com ranked him 10th on their midseason Top 20 list.

Fynn has a lifetime 3.44 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 277 2/3 innings. In their scouting report, BA praised a fastball that sat 89 to 93 mph and touched 95 out of the 6’7″ lefty’s hand. Flynn features a four-pitch mix with his best offspeed offering being a slider, per BA, and he also features an average changeup and a show-me curveball that he mixes in less often. Flynn will provide the Royals with another Major League ready rotation option, but he could also fill a need in the bullpen, as the Royals are without a solid lefty relief option.

Redman, who recently turned 26, reached Double-A for the first time this season. Drafted by Tampa in 2012 as a third baseman, Redman has successfully converted to the mound since that time. In 90 professional innings, he has a 2.00 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the swap of Crow and Flynn, and the Marlins then announced that Redman was in the deal (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Royals Re-Sign Jason Frasor

The Royals announced that they have re-signed right-hander Jason Frasor to a one-year deal with a mutual option for the 2016 season. Frasor, a client of agent Dave Meier, reportedly receives a $1.25MM base in 2015 with a $2MM option that contains a $550K buyout. That makes for a $1.8MM guarantee, and the deal also calls for as much as $500K of incentives in each season.

Jason Frasor

Frasor, 37, was acquired by the Royals in a mid-July swap that sent minor league righty Spencer Patton to the Rangers. The veteran Frasor was excellent for the Royals in both the regular season and the postseason, allowing a combined four earned runs in 23 innings of work. Frasor doesn’t have the 93 mph heat that he used to, but he did average 91.9 mph on his fastball in 2014. Overall, he posted a solid 2.66 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate in 47 1/3 regular season innings between the Rangers and Royals.

The Royals became notorious for their smothering defense and lights-out bullpen in the playoffs this year, but the relief corps was actually a very top-heavy unit. Behind Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera, only Aaron Crow topped 40 innings, and Crow was largely ineffective. Frasor will provide the club with some much-needed depth in the middle innings.

As I noted in Kansas City’s Offseason Outlook, bullpen help was (and likely still remains) an area of need for the Royals. In particular, the club will likely look at left-handed relief options, as they’ll be short on reliable southpaws next season. Tim Collins struggled with his command again in 2014 and is a non-tender candidate (though GM Dayton Moore did previously indicate to McCullough that he’s still considering tendering a contract to both Collins and Crow), and Scott Downs departed via free agency. That Frasor was able to be had on a modest deal is good news for the Royals, who already projected to field a payroll in the mid-$80MM range before this signing. It’s been reported that Kansas City’s payroll could top $100MM next season, so there’s some flexibility, but adding some reliable innings on a relatively low-cost deal addresses one need without significantly denting Moore’s available funds, allowing him to look for further upgrades in the rotation and possibly in right field.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star was the first to report the terms of the contract (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports images.


Arbitration Breakdown: Greg Holland, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Steve Cishek

Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.

Four relievers enter their second year of arbitration eligibility this winter, with a chance to collectively make a huge impact on that market. Each will influence each other’s salary as they did last year, and will influence many players that follow in the coming years. Greg Holland, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Steve Cishek each became full-time closers during their second full seasons in 2012, and have dominated hitters since.

Becoming a closer so early was a rare feat just a few years ago. Teams used to give three-year or four-year deals worth upwards of $10 million per year for an “established” closer. Players like Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Brad Lidge, Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Jonathan Papelbon signed such deals that began between 2008 and 2012, and few of those worked out. As I wrote several years ago, teams were paying far more per WAR for relievers than any other position on the diamond by far. Obviously the measurement of WAR is tricky, but regardless of how it is measured, it was clear that allocating $10 million to a guy to throw 60 innings three years down the line was not working out for many teams.

Fortunately, something happened that gave a number of teams the opportunity to change their ways. An onslaught of talented young pitchers emerged onto the scene with incredible fastballs, and many were given the opportunity to be closers quickly. Craig Kimbrel is actually from the same service class as these four players but he signed a four-year deal last winter. However, that makes five teams who quickly established a young arm in the closing position and had some success with it. Of course, now that these guys have some experience, the price has gone up.

Holland had the best year of the foursome, with a 1.44 ERA and 46 saves. Jansen was no slouch with a 2.12 ERA and 44 saves, Chapman’s ERA was just 2.00 and he had 36 saves, while Cishek had 39 saves but a more pedestrian 3.17 ERA. As a result, the model predicted a $4.62MM raise for Holland, $3.5MM for Jansen, $3.1MM for Cishek, and $3.05MM for Chapman. The model weighs heavily on saves since the market for relievers has done so in recent years, so it has unsurprisingly ranked their raises by saves. Holland’s raise is actually subject to “The Kimbrel Rule,” which states that a player cannot beat the record for his role and service time by more than $1MM, so his projected raise is limited to $4.275MM (topping Francisco Rodriguez’s $3.275MM raise from 2007 by $1MM), which gives him a $8.95MM projected salary.

What makes these guys even more unique is the fact that so few teams have gone year-to-year in arbitration with their closers. Jason Motte, Jonathan Broxton, and Carlos Marmol have each gotten two-year or three-year deals in recent years. Obviously Kimbrel’s four-year deal meets those criteria as well.

In fact, the only closer with 30 saves in his platform season, 45 saves in his pre-platform seasons, and an ERA under 3.50 in the last five years who did get a one-year deal during his second year of arbitration was Jonathan Papelbon. He got a $3.1MM raise from the Red Sox in 2010 after putting together 38 saves and a 1.85 ERA. Before him, Francisco Rodriguez’s 2007 raise of $3.275MM is a possible clue (1.73 ERA and 47 saves), as could be Jose Valverde’s $2.7MM raise in 2008 (2.66 ERA, 47 saves), or Chad Cordero’s $2.05MM raise in 2008 (3.36 ERA, 37 saves). However, those last three cases are very old and are less likely to be considered in an arbitration case.

All four of the closers in question will basically have Jonathan Papelbon’s $3.1MM raise and whatever each other get as a reference. I think that there is a strong possibility that Chapman and Cishek do get right around their projected numbers, which are within $50K of Papelbon’s raise. I could see Chapman’s reputation pushing him a little higher, though. And I’m also inclined to agree with the model that Kenley Jansen and Greg Holland, with similar ERA’s and more saves than Papelbon, plus a few years of salary inflation behind their cases, are likely to top Papelbon’s raise. Jansen’s $3.5MM raise seems about right, and while I think the model’s estimate for Holland of a $4.62MM raise strikes me as unlikely, a Kimbrel rule-adjusted $4.275MM raise sounds reasonable.

If I had to guess, I think that these four guys will follow the model well. However, I think that they will either all collectively make the model look good, or the first guy will make it look bad, and the following three guys to sign will make it look worse as they affect each other’s cases. Without many historical comparables that look anything like this foursome, they will all become comparables for each other. Unless their teams follow the Braves and ink a multi-year deal, I would not be surprised if these four guys affect each other’s 2016 salaries as well.



Offseason Outlook: Kansas City Royals

The 2014 Royals went from playoff hopeful to Wild Card winners to a Cinderella team that made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. While the Giants ultimately prevailed, the team’s success brought about a baseball renaissance in Kansas City, leading to passionate and raucous crowds at Kaufman Stadium throughout the entire postseason. Now, GM Dayton Moore and his staff must determine how best to position the team for a repeat of that success despite several escalating salaries and the departures of key free agents.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (Service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)

Free Agents

Other payroll obligations

  • $1MM owed to Bruce Chen for buyout of 2015 option

The Royals opened the 2014 season with a payroll just over $92MM, and they’re already at $52.75MM in 2015 simply by exercising their option on Wade Davis and buying out the option on Billy Butler. That figure doesn’t include arbitration raises for any of the many arb-eligible players, nor does it include pre-arbitration players to round out the roster. Going off Matt Swartz’s projections, arbitration alone figures to boost the Royals up to $81MM in guarantees — a figure that would jump into the mid-$80MMs when factoring in pre-arb salaries.

There isn’t much room between that projection and the Opening Day payroll of 2014, but of course, there will be extra funds to spend thanks to the team’s deep postseason run. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star wrote recently that the payroll could surpass $100MM for the first time, meaning GM Dayton Moore could have a fairly well-stocked war chest for the offseason. McCullough reported that room for one fairly significant addition does seem to exist.

Perhaps the biggest area of concern for the Royals will be in the starting rotation. Although the team is said to have a strong desire to retain James Shields, odds are that another team will outbid the Royals by a fairly significant margin. That would leave the club with a rotation consisting of Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and Jeremy Guthrie. The team does fancy Brandon Finnegan an eventual starter despite his key role in the postseason bullpen, but dropping him right into the fire from day one next season might be ambitious. He threw just 40 innings between the Royals (minors, regular season and postseason) plus another 105 2/3 innings at TCU last year.

The free agent market features a number of second-tier options at starting pitcher, and though the top names among that second tier — Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano, Kenta Maeda and old friend Ervin Santana — could command average annual values north of $12MM on multi-year commitments, that seems to be within the Royals’ means. Indeed, McCullough specifically listed Santana as a target for the Royals when writing about the payroll, and there’s said to be mutual interest between the two sides. Of course, if Moore doesn’t want to spend most of his available money in one place, he could look to more affordable arms like Jason Hammel or try to catch lightning in a bottle by signing Brett Anderson or Brandon Morrow in hopes of getting 150+ innings of strong production should either finally remain healthy.

An alternative solution is the trade market. Reports have already indicated that the Royals will at least listen on some names they’d likely be loath to move, including Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. However, in my eyes, the clearest area for the team to shed some payroll is by breaking up the core of the “big three” relievers that gained so much notoriety in this year’s postseason. Greg Holland could stage a legitimate argument for being the game’s best closer, but he’s also projected to earn a whopping $9.3MM next season — a mark that represents about 10 percent of Kansas City’s Opening Day payroll from 2014. Combining to pay Holland and Davis $16.3MM seems a luxury that is too much for Kansas City to afford. However, with two years of team control remaining, Holland will be an attractive asset even with his quickly escalating salary and could fetch some strong young talent in a trade. Davis could slot into the closer’s role, with Herrera becoming the primary setup man. Given Davis’ club options for 2016 ($8MM) and 2017 ($10M), the additional saves won’t drive up his price tag through arbitration as they would Holland’s. Moore has stated that he thinks the team can afford both, however, and the Royals are reportedly even looking to add to their bullpen, so that speculation may be far-fetched, but it does carry some logic, in my mind.

Around the infield, the Royals are set at nearly every position. Catcher Salvador Perez is one of the game’s best bargains, Hosmer will look to return to his 2013 offensive production, Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar will form the double-play tandem, and Mike Moustakas will hope to build off a sound postseason in which he flashed legitimate power. It’s worth debating whether or not the team could look to upgrade over Hosmer and Moustakas, each of whom has disappointed to some level (Moustakas in particular, at the plate at least), but both have been looked at as cornerstone pieces in the past and both possess significant upside that makes it difficult for Kansas City to go in another direction. At the very least, a right-handed platoon option that can handle either corner infield spot seems like it would be a wise acquisition.

In the outfield, Alex Gordon may be baseball’s best left fielder, and the team can either choose to lean on Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson in center/right or platoon the two and pursue an external right fielder. A reunion with Aoki, to whom they’ve already been connected, can’t be ruled out. The Royals are also reportedly interested in Torii Hunter, and had been listed as a serious suitor for Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, though he is reportedly off the market. An additional (and completely speculative) target could be Justin Upton, who’s owed $14.5MM next year before hitting the open market. Moore knows the Atlanta brass well, and Upton would add some legitimate power (at the expense of defensive value). And, he could net the team a draft pick next winter if he signed elsewhere. However, Atlanta would ask for some high-upside names, likely pitchers, and if the Braves want a Major League ready starter, as they got for Jason Heyward, the very mention of the names “Duffy” or “Ventura” would likely end those talks before they began in earnest.

Another question for the Royals will be how to replace longtime DH Billy Butler, who signed a three-year, $30MM contract with the A’s last week. Kansas City could look to Mike Morse as a DH or attempt to buy low on Corey Hart or Kendrys Morales if the preference is to avoid spending big on designated hitter (which would explain Butler’s departure). They could also elect to use DH as a spot to give Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas and a potential free agent outfield addition some rest (particularly if K.C. ends up adding an older veteran like Hunter). In the conference call discussing Butler’s departure, Moore told reporters, including MLBTR’s own Zach Links, that he was open to either scenario — a dedicated DH or a rotation to keep multiple regulars fresh.

One final piece for Kansas City could be a bullpen arm. Free agent Jason Frasor pitched well in Kansas City after being acquired from Texas and will leave a void in bridging the gap from starter to closer. A reunion could make sense, as he figures to land a one-year deal at a modest cost and knows the team well. Otherwise, I’d peg Kansas City as a potential landing spot for Pat Neshek, Jason Grilli and other solid arms that won’t come with an exorbitant annual value.

In the end, the Royals should be able to boost payroll above $100MM this offseason, but the large arbitration raises due for their core players will prevent them from spending too freely. Moore and his staff could very well look to the trade market to alleviate some of that pressure. The cost-controlled core that is in place should provide the foundation for another run at an AL Central title, so long as the team is able to replace the value lost by Shields’ seemingly inevitable departure. Significant steps forward from Hosmer or Moustakas may take care of that on their own, but Kansas City would be wise to supplement the roster so that those steps forward would be a bonus rather than a necessity.


Royals Acquire Ryan Jackson From Dodgers

The Dodgers announced that they have traded recently designated infielder Ryan Jackson to the Royals in exchange for cash consideration.

The 26-year-old Jackson has just two hits in 25 career plate appearances in the Majors. The Dodgers claimed Jackson off waivers from the Padres, and many speculated that former San Diego GM Josh Byrnes, now working in the Dodgers’ front office, had a hand in that decision. However, the Dodgers opted to designate Jackson for assignment when they acquired right-hander Juan Nicasio — a fellow DFA victim — from the Rockies.

A shortstop by trade, Jackson is a career .274/.344/.369 hitter at the Triple-A level. He missed most of the 2014 season recovering from surgery on his right wrist.


NL West Notes: Preller, Montero, D’Backs, Anderson, Giants

A pair of rival executives described Padres GM A.J. Preller as “all over the map” when asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Preller, Rosenthal writes, is furiously exploring both trade and free agent possibilities to boost his new club’s offense. According to Rosenthal, Preller was in contact with the Braves about Jason Heyward prior to their trade with the Cardinals, and he’s also called on Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp in addition to showing legitimate interest in Pablo Sandoval. One of Preller’s colleagues estimated to Rosenthal that the San Diego GM has had “baseline discussions” on at least 200 players this offseason. Suffice it to say, Padres fans should likely expect some form of significant move in Preller’s first offseason at the helm.

Elsewhere in the division…

  • Trade talks regarding Miguel Montero have not escalated significantly since Russell Martin came off the board and signed with the Blue Jays, reports the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro (the Montero portion comes at the bottom of the article). However, the D’Backs have spoken to the White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers about Montero, who is owed $40MM over the next three seasons.
  • MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart was recently in the Dominican Republic, and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson is in Mexico scouting some of the top international teens on the market. The D’Backs are hoping to make waves on the international front soon, he adds.
  • The Rockies are still interested in re-signing Brett Anderson to a more team-friendly deal than the $12MM option they declined, tweets the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders. However, the Royals and Astros are interested in adding Anderson under similar circumstances, he adds.
  • Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said on KNBR radio yesterday that his team is very interested in both Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada (via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). However, Evans wouldn’t commit one way or another when asked if his club had the money to sign both Tomas and Sandoval.

Yasmany Tomas Rumors: Thursday

Here’s the latest on Yasmany Tomas, the 23-year-old Cuban slugger who is among the exciting international players demanding attention:

  • Tomas is growing tired of the “dog-and-pony show” and wants to sign as soon as he can but he is being urged by others to show patience, sources tell Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. The Phillies, Royals and Padres have shown the most interest in landing him, though the D’Backs and Mariners “lurk as possibilities,” and Atlanta is also in the mix. The Giants have seen Tomas four times, Passan adds.

Earlier Updates

  • The Padres are still in on Tomas up to around the $70MM level, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs hears (Twitter link).
  • The Braves are set for a private workout and should be considered part of the sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. As Heyman noted earlier today, Tomas has a visa and could be in attendance at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported recently that several dark horses could be in the race, and Atlanta would certainly qualify.
  • The Phillies are increasingly concerned with the defensive part of the equation on Tomas, reports MLB.com’s Paul Hagen. The club is “backing off” somewhat, despite generally being viewed as the front-runner to land him. Philly sees Tomas more as a DH, per Hagen, but could be more intrigued if his asking price begins to creep down.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com echoes those thoughts (Twitter links). He says the team believes in Tomas’s bat, but is worried about both his defense and conditioning and is not interested in guaranteeing him nine figures.
  • For his part, Ben Badler of Baseball America sees the Giants and Phillies as the most likely landing spot for Tomas. A rival executive tells ESPN.com’s Jayston Stark (Twitter link) that he believes the Phils remain the easy favorite, with Stark noting that the bidding on Tomas has been making “furious progress.”

Minor Moves: Duran, Fuentes, Bartsch, Gimenez

Here are the day’s minor signings from around the league:

  • The Mariners have acquired minor league right-hander Sam Gaviglio from the Cardinals in exchange for minor league infielder Ty Kelly, the teams announced. Gaviglio, 24, had a 4.28 ERA with 8.3 K/0 and 3.0 BB/9 in 136 2/3 innings at Double-A this season. He made 25 appearances, with 24 being starts. Kelly, 26, hit .263/.381/.412 with 15 homers and 11 steals at Triple-A. The former Orioles draftee has a lifetime .280/.402/.409 batting line in 841 PA at that level.

Earlier Updates

  • Left-hander Omar Duran has agreed to a minor league deal with the Tigers that includes a Spring Training invitation, MLBTR has learned. Duran, 24, had spent his entire career in the Athletics organization, never moving above the Double-A level. But he was consistently productive last year after matching his double-digit strikeout marks with manageable walk totals.
  • The Royals announced that they have acquired outfielder Reymond Fuentes from the Padres in exchange for left-hander Kyle Bartsch (Twitter link). Fuentes, 23, was one of the four players San Diego received from the Red Sox in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez. The 23-year-old former first-rounder batted .294/.363/.416 with five homers and went 25-for-28 in stolen base attempts between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014. Bartsch, also 23, spent this season at Class-A Advanced Wilmington where he notched a 2.29 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 55 innings of relief, showing effectiveness against both lefties and righties.
  • The Rangers have added catcher Chris Gimenez and righty David Martinez to minor league deals with invitations to camp, the club announced. Gimenez, 31, bounced around quite a bit last year and ultimately managed a .241/.313/.328 line over 128 plate appearances at the big league level — the sixth year in a row that he spent at least some time on an active roster. Martinez, 27, has just 18 1/3 big league frames to his credit and had spent his whole career with the Astros. He has worked in a swingman capacity in the upper minors in recent seasons.

Royals GM Dayton Moore On Losing Billy Butler

Earlier today, the Royals bid farewell to slugger Billy Butler, who signed a three-year, $30MM deal with the A’s.  It wasn’t surprising to see Butler head elsewhere after KC turned down his one-year, $12.5MM club option (our own Steve Adams actually predicted the exact terms of Butler’s new contract), but the loss still stings for the Royals.  This afternoon, Royals GM Dayton Moore spoke with reporters about how the club will proceed without the the longest-tenured member of Kansas City’s roster.  After watching the former All-Star sign a hefty three-year, $30MM deal, I asked Moore if he considered exercising the club option on Butler and trading him rather than letting him leave via free agency and getting nothing.

That’s something talked about but the timing of it really didn’t allow us to do that,” Moore said.  “There was nobody really willing to do that at the time.  We just finished playing [in the World Series] and three days later we had to make a decision.  If we would have found a viable trade partner it’s something we would have done, or looked at.  I don’t know if we would have done it because I’m not sure what the package would have been, but it’s something we certainly looked at.

Ultimately, Moore admits that he misread the market when it comes to Butler, but over the years he has learned that free agency is always difficult to predict and “hindsight is 20/20.”  Even after declining the option, Moore felt that he had a good chance of retaining Butler, but things just weren’t meant to be.  Now, the Royals will have to fill the void in their lineup and they’ll explore all opportunities.  Moore hopes that he can take care of his right field need and some of the DH at bats with one signing, but he won’t pigeonhole himself.

We like our flexibility, for certain.” Moore said. “It could be one guy or we could guys a day off like [Alex] Gordon or Lorenzo [Cain] or Omar [Infante].

The Royals, Moore says, will search hard for a right-handed bat with some pop, but he also spoke at length about Kansas City’s needs in the starting rotation. That lines up with a report from Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, noting that the club has checked in with the agents for Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Jason Hammel, and Jon Lester.  Royals fans might be sad to see Butler go, but Moore insists that the club still has “plenty of room to sign a free agent or two.”


Royals Notes: Butler, Rotation, Hunter, Peguero

The Royals have now officially waved goodbye to long-time DH Billy Butler, who signed a three-year pact with the A’s that was announced this morning. Kansas City had its chance to keep him, of course, but declined a $12.5MM club option on the right-handed hitter, preferring instead to pay him a $1MM buyout.

Here’s the latest out of Kansas City:

  • In a piece discussing the anticipated loss of Butler, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star indicates that the team remains intent on making impact additions to its roster, particularly to the rotation. The club has had at least opening discussions with agents for Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Jason Hammel, and Jon Lester, writes McCullough.
  • Francisco Liriano is also a consideration for the Royals, as are many other arms in the mid-tier of free agents, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. And trade possibilities are also being explored. The team is still dabbling in the markets for Lester and Shields, Heyman notes, but seemingly has eyes for Liriano and Santana
  • Torii Hunter is a definite target, says Heyman. The team believes that he is still a reliable bat and sees him as a quality fit.
  • Kansas City is considering utilizing Carlos Peguero in a time-share in right field and at DH, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City. That plan would be particularly interesting if the team could pair the left-handed-hitting Peguero with a veteran right-handed bat of Hunter’s ilk.