Home > Individual Players, Season in Review > Royals Holiday Shopping – Corner Outfield

Royals Holiday Shopping – Corner Outfield

I’m not sure if the Royals can make purchases online for players that they need, but if they can, Dayton Moore would’ve been up early this morning clicking in the bargain bin at every team’s website. As it is, he still has to make phone calls to other team’s general managers and player agents. Today we’re going to take a look at the holiday shopping list for players of need as indicated by the organization.

The first thing that most people talk about is the right-handed corner outfielder (or two) that Dayton’s been discussing since trading David DeJesus. There are a few options for sale this holiday season, none of whom are guys who will really energize a fan base, but they can do some good things.

Pat Burrell probably doesn’t play the type of defense that Dayton Moore is looking for, but sometimes a power bat will talk. Burrell’s stint in San Francisco may have saved his career, but his World Series probably cost him anywhere between a couple million dollars and a guaranteed contract. He’s almost certainly a no go for the Royals.

Jeff Francouer is the name most associated with the Royals in their search for the right-handed corner outfielder*. For all the flack Frenchy has taken from the blogging world for his inability to get on base or generally hit well, he does have his uses and is worth a modest salary if used correctly in a platoon. While the numbers don’t scream MVP, he is more than serviceable as the right-handed half of a platoon situation. Plus, he’s quite good defensively with a fantastic arm. His use is what will determine if he is a good signing for any team. Francouer with 600 at bats is money being flushed down the toilet. Francouer with 250 at bats, mostly against lefties, is a sound investment. There’s some rumblings that the Phillies might like him to platoon with young Dominic Brown, so Dayton’s going to have to strike quickly if he wants to pry this one away.

*While I have a very different feeling about this search than the ones from the Allard Baird days, I’m sort of longing for a Kevin Mench rumor to sprout up after all we heard about Baird being on the verge of trading for him. He is on the free agent list, but I’m pretty sure Baird won’t stop texting Theo Epstein until he picks him up.

Bill Hall is a player who, if his salary demands aren’t outrageous, might make a good fit on the Royals. This organization loves players who can play all over the field and Hall has a little pop. Realistically he’s going to be a little more expensive than the Royals had hoped to pay, but he could be a guy on clearance after the holidays.

Andruw Jones might be my second favorite option among the candidates available. He’s most certainly not the superstar he was just a few years ago, but Dayton Moore has had an affinity for him in the past, and with his former Bravedom makes a lot of sense in Royals blue. Jones can’t really play center on a regular basis anymore, but his defensive ability translates well to right field and he has some serious pop. The average will be low and the strikeouts will be high, but given 500 or so at bats, he might hit 30 homers, walk 75 times and give a real threat behind Butler and Ka’aihue.

Austin Kearns is my personal favorite for what the Royals are looking to add. He hits some and he plays fantastic defense. With Kearns, you’re getting a guy who will take a few walks, hit a few homers and strike out more than he should. You’re also getting an outfielder who is as good or better defensively than the man he’d be replacing, David DeJesus. He can probably be had pretty cheap. A lot of the knock on Kearns is that he isn’t as good as he probably should have been, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. The same can probably be said about Alex Gordon.

Magglio Ordonez is a player who can’t be had terribly cheap, but will probably sign a contract which he has a good chance to outperform. His defense isn’t what it used to be, but it’s not exactly in the range of Jose Guillen or even close. He’s a good bet to hit .300, get on base a ton, not strike out and hit about 20-25 homers. If not for health concerns, he’d be a perfect fit for this team. Of course, if not for health concerns he wouldn’t sign a contract that the Royals could afford. It’s a tradeoff and one that I think might be worth making.

I began writing this post with a clear cut thought that Francouer or Kearns would be the best choice, but after writing this my tune may have changed. While I’d support signing either (pending their use of course) I also think Andruw Jones might be a slightly better fit than either. Ordonez would be a nice addition as well on an incentive laden contract. I think he’s an extreme long shot, but it’d be fun to see him hitting fourth or fifth in this lineup. Either way, this is a good off-season for the Royals to be looking for a stop gap righty to play corner outfield as the options are plentiful and not too terrible. It’ll be interesting to see who is patrolling right when the season opens in March.

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  1. Patrick
    November 30, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Kearns, I would like to see that. It’s a realistic possibility, and easier to stomach than Francouer. Though I suppose that I could live with Francouer’s defense.

    Jones, I have to disagree with. I see him starting out hot but then fading and Royals fans hating him by the end of the season, as many in Chicago did in 2010.

    Ordonez would be good if the Royals wouldn’t have to over pay for him.

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