The Royals are interested in adding an experienced right-handed hitter this offseason, general manager J.J. Picollo tells Anne Rogers of MLB.com. The first-year baseball ops leader suggested the team’s defensive flexibility afforded them the ability to scour the market at multiple positions.
“The nice thing is, we have a lot of flexibility with the positional guys. A lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions. It doesn’t pigeonhole us into saying, ‘We need to go get this position,’” Picollo told Rogers. “I think we’re thinking more right-handed bat more so than left-handed. But we want the ability to match up and have the depth on our bench that allows us to make moves late in games.”
Kansas City has Bobby Witt Jr. locked in at shortstop, while Vinnie Pasquantino broke out to seize the first base job. Franchise icon Salvador Perez is locked in behind the plate, and Rogers writes that former top catching prospect MJ Melendez looks as if he’ll be the primary left fielder. Michael A. Taylor is under contract and the in-house favorite for playing time in center field, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kansas City floats him in trade talks considering how shallow the free agent market at the position is.
The rest of the position player group is a bit up in the air. Second and third base were primarily manned by rookies Michael Massey and Nate Eaton down the stretch. Both played reasonably well in their first exposure to big league pitching, and Picollo suggested Massey in particular looks as if he’ll get the first crack at the second base job. Nicky Lopez is on hand as a potential second base alternative, while Adalberto Mondesi is controllable for his final season of arbitration but coming off a season mostly lost to an ACL tear. Mondesi looks like a viable non-tender candidate with a projected $3MM salary, but Picollo indicated the club could bring him back as a multi-positional option off the bench.
That leaves third base and right field — where none of Drew Waters, Hunter Dozier, Edward Olivares or Kyle Isbel looks like a slam-dunk everyday player — as areas for a possible upgrade. Picollo noted that an experienced, veteran player would be ideal to help out in a younger clubhouse. Speculatively speaking, Evan Longoria and Justin Turner, each of whom were bought out of club options today, could fit the bill as third base/designated hitter options. In the corner outfield, players like Mitch…