Kansas City Royals Rumors

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

Royals Designate Moises Sierra For Assignment

The Royals announced today that they have designated outfielder Moises Sierra for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for new designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

Sierra was claimed by the Royals in the midst of the World Series after the White Sox placed him on waivers. In 135 plate appearances with Chicago this past season, the 26-year-old batted .276/.311/.417 with two home runs. Defensive metrics were never kind to Sierra while he was with the Blue Jays (from whom the White Sox claimed him), but he did post passable grades in both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating in a small sample of work with the Sox this past year.

The Royals have plenty of outfield depth on the Major League roster it is following the club’s reported agreement with Alex Rios, so it’s not particularly surprising to see Sierra cut loose. Kansas City still has Rios, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson on board to soak up most of the team’s playing time in the outfield.


Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

Royals Sign Yohan Pino To Major League Deal

The Royals announced that they’ve signed former Twins right-hander Yohan Pino to a Major League contract and designated right-hander Casey Coleman for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.

Pino, 31 in two weeks, made his Major League debut with the Twins this past season and wound up spending a fairly significant amount of time in the rotation despite less-than-stellar results. Pino made 11 starts and posted a 5.07 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 28.6 percent ground-ball rate. Pino’s 88.3 mph fastball and extreme fly-ball tendencies make it a bit surprising that he landed a big league deal, but the Royals are a team that is well equipped to handle those deficiencies, given their excellent outfield defense. Of course, that assumes that Pino will make the club, which is far from a given at this time, despite the MLB contract he signed.

Coleman, 27, posted a 5.25 ERA in 12 innings for the Royals this past season and owns a lifetime 5.72 mark in 177 2/3 big league innings. He’s averaged 6.2 strikeouts and 4.5 walks per nine innings pitched to go along with a 46.5 percent ground-ball rate. Coleman was always a bit of a soft-tosser, but his average fastball spiked from about 90 mph to 94 mph this season.



AL Central Notes: Porcello, Scherzer, Melky, Twins

The Tigers didn’t trade Rick Porcello to the Red Sox due to a lack of progress in extension talks, Porcello’s agent Jim Murray tells FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.  The two sides “briefly discussed” extending Porcello’s contract beyond the 2015 season, Murray said, “but it was more in the context of something both parties may or may not talk about in the future.”  Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • Though Scott Boras has openly said the Tigers won’t get a chance to match an opposing team’s final offer for Max Scherzer, an industry source tells MLB.com’s Jason Beck that the agent will indeed give Tigers owner Mike Ilitch a chance to match “at least as a professional courtesy.”  The good relationship between Boras and Ilitch has paved the way for several Boras clients to come to Detroit, perhaps most notably Prince Fielder in the 2011-12 offseason.
  • Also from Beck, he passes along comments from Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski reiterating that nothing has changed between Detroit and Scherzer.  “I guess anything can happen but we’re not in active pursuit at this time. We’re happy with our starting pitching,” Dombrowski said.  “Again, we love him, but as I said at the time, we were the sole club that could sign him last spring. It didn’t work. I don’t think our odds improve with 29 other clubs that could potentially try to sign him.”
  • Melky Cabrera is still the Royals‘ top choice to fill their hole in the outfield, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  If Cabrera can’t be signed, K.C. has such options as Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus or Alex Rios as fallback options.
  • The vesting option on Ervin Santana‘s four-year contract with the Twins will require more than just 200 IP from the righty in 2018 to guarantee his 2019 season, a source tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
  • The Twins haven’t discussed extensions with Phil Hughes, Brian Dozier or Trevor Plouffe yet this offseason, Mike Berardino reports (via Twitter).  Berardino suggests that talks could wait until January.  The three players have very different contract situations — Dozier isn’t arbitration-eligible until next winter, Plouffe is projected to earn $4.3MM in his second of four arb years as a Super Two player and Hughes still has two seasons remaining on the three-year, $24MM deal he signed last winter.  Of the three, Hughes would clearly be the most expensive to extend given his tremendous 2014 campaign.

Winter Meetings Rumors: Giants, Santana, Marlins, Morneau, Dodgers, Angels

Needless to say, it was a frenetic end to the Winter Meetings. Over the course of the morning, several forward-looking reports emerged. We’ll round those up here:

  • The Giants are focused on free agent starter James Shields, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). San Francisco is alive on both Shields and Ervin Santana, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle adds on Twitter. The club met with Shields in San Diego, as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported yesterday (Twitter link).
  • The Twins are still trying to land Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who adds that the GiantsRoyals, and Yankees have also expressed interest in the free agent righty.
  • The Marlins are still looking hard at the free agent and trade market for a first baseman, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. A deal could come at any time, Spencer adds.
  • Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies have fallen apart, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer. He hears that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
  • Communications between the Marlins and Rockies regarding Morneau will continue, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports on Twitter, though Harding’s source says he is not sure if the potential match “has legs.”
  • The Dodgers did not make their moves as a prelude to dealing away Zack Greinke or dealing for Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Los Angeles has already done its heavy lifting with yesterday’s series of moves, says Sherman.
  • After trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Angels are “open to opportunities” for additions at the position, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Halos are not interested in free agents Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew, per Dipoto. Of course, the team just added Josh Rutledge to join in-house option Grant Green in the current mix.

AL Central Notes: Indians, Detwiler, Royals, Twins

The Indians are pursuing free agent starter Brett Anderson, ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweets. If he’s healthy, the talented but oft-injured Anderson would provide a wild card and a left arm for a talented Indians rotation that currently includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and T.J. House. Anderson has recently been connected to the Twins, Rockies, Royals and Astros. Here’s more from the AL Central.

  • The Royals discussed a potential Ross Detwiler trade with the Nationals, but talks didn’t advance, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. The Royals saw the lefty reliever and Missouri native as “more of a backup option,” Wagner notes. Detwiler, 28, posted a 4.00 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 63 innings with the Nats last season.
  • There has been plenty of interest in Twins middle infielders Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, but the Twins do not want to trade either one, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Dozier and Escobar were among Minnesota’s most productive position players last season, so it’s understandable that the Twins would be reluctant to part with them, although they also got very good seasons from fellow middle infielder Danny Santana and from third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

Twins “Pushing” To Sign Ervin Santana

THURSDAY: Minnesota is prepared to offer Santana a contract in the neighborhood of four years and $50MM, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  The Royals and Giants are among the other teams involved in the Santana chase.

WEDNESDAY: The Twins are “pushing to get [a] deal” with free agent right-hander Ervin Santana, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter link).  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) hears that the Twins have made an offer to Santana, though he cautions that the offer alone doesn’t indicate that a deal is close.

For what it’s worth, Twins GM Terry Ryan won’t even confirm that the Twins have interest in the free agent hurler, as Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com tweets.  He says that any news of a deal (or, presumably, a near-deal) is news to him.

Santana, 31, pitched to a 3.95 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 42.7 percent ground-ball rate in 196 innings of work in 2014.  While his ERA rose, metrics such as FIP (3.39) and xFIP (3.47) felt Santana had his best season since 2008.

Earlier today, we learned that the Giants are talking with Santana now that they have lost out on their top target, Jon Lester.  The veteran is said to love “pitching in the cold,” so Minnesota might prove to be a solid fit for him.


Royals Shopping Infante, Listening On Relievers

TODAY: Kansas City is leaving other clubs with the impression that they are willing, albeit hesitant, to deal from amongst its trio of late-inning arms, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). To do so, however, the Royals would need a controllable player at a position of need: either an impact bat in right or a starting pitcher.

YESTERDAY, 12:30pm: The Royals are making Omar Infante available, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Roughly one year ago today, the Royals signed Infante to a four-year deal for more than $30MM plus incentives with a $10MM team option for 2018.  The soon-to-be 33-year-old batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 homers and solid second base defense for the Tigers in 2013.  However, his production slid in 2014 as he hit just .252/.295/.337 with subpar work in the field (-3.0 UZR/150).  His .632 OPS was his worst in nearly a decade, but with a lack of quality second base options out there, Infante could have value.

12:08pm: The Royals have been telling teams that relievers Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera are not available, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter).  McCullough cautions (link) that that things could conceivably change with David Robertson now off the market, however.

That news comes as something of a surprise given the amount of trade buzz we’ve heard about the trio this week.  Just yesterday we heard that the Royals were listening to offers on all three relievers with an eye on turning their bullpen strength into an outfield bat.  Trading a reliever could bring KC a much more affordable outfield solution than, say, free agent Melky Cabrera, but it would also chip away at what helped make the Royals such a strong team in 2014.

The Blue Jays were said to be in pursuit of Holland and the Royals reportedly considered him to be available, albeit with a high price tag.  McCullough speculated that Holland’s delivery and build could have KC worried about his durability, but their concerns might not be enough for them to ship him out.  MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects him to earn $9.3MM in 2015, but that doesn’t appear to be a prohibitive cost for KC.


Free Agent Rumors: Furcal, Grilli, Young, Mets

Free agent infielder Rafael Furcal could be a fit for the Royals on a minor league deal thanks to his connection with GM Dayton Moore, according to Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (via Twitter).  Here are some of the latest free agency rumors out of San Diego..

  • Jason Grilli has multiple offers from teams in major markets but the Tigers are not one of them, his agent tells Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).
  • The Rangers have interest in Eric Young Jr., but they may have already been outbid, according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is considering bidding in the posting of Jung-ho Kang, but he’s unresolved as to whether he will, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • The Orioles could be a landing spot for former Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • After signing Jon Lester, the Cubs are now pursuing outfielder Jonny Gomes in an apparent effort to get the band back together, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Catcher David Ross tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that he’s not close on a deal with any club even though he has interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, D’Backs, and Padres.

Outfield Trade Notes: Pads, Cubs, Upton, Gattis, Kemp, Trumbo

There is a fairly lengthy list of right-handed hitting outfield bats being discussed in trade scenarios. Here’s the latest on some members of that group:

  • The Padres and Cubs are “turning up” their efforts to add a right-handed power bat, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes that Upton is one elite option on the market. At this point, the possible involvement of the Cubs on more prominent outfield targets remains largely an undercurrent, and O’Brien himself cautions not to read between the lines too much on that possibility.
  • The Cubs are pursuing a power bat capable of playing in left, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. Chicago has, of course, been tied to Jonny Gomes, but it is not clear if the club might have its eyes on a larger prize.
  • As noted in a separate post, the Orioles have expressed interest in Yoenis Cespedes, though nothing is imminent.

Earlier Updates

  • The Braves continue to get hits on both Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. The GiantsRangersRoyals, and Padres have interest in both players, while the Mariners are only interested in the former.
  • The Royals are indeed interested in Upton and Gattis but remain disinterested in parting with Danny Duffy or Yordano Ventura, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • While the Dodgers and Padres are continuing to discuss a Matt Kemp deal, the sides do not have a direct match, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The clubs are attempting to involve a third team to make a deal, says Rosenthal.
  • The Diamondbacks are still fielding calls on Mark Trumbo, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen, of course, just how interested Arizona is in moving the slugger. Rival executives feel they are receiving mixed signals on that point, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.