With the baseball season now over, we immediately turn our attention to the Hot Stove and how the Royals can improve for next year. Already there are rumors surrounding the team as Jon Morosi reports that the team could be interested in Torii Hunter to fill right-field in 2015.
The Royals will need to do some lineup revamping this winter, and with Billy Butler and Norichika Aoki unlikely to return, one player that may interest Kansas City is Torii Hunter. Butler and Aoki were inserted back into Ned Yost's lineup with the World Series back here for Game 6, but the Royals are thought unlikely to pick up Butler's $12-million option, and Aoki is a free agent. Kansas City quietly made a play seven years ago for Hunter when he signed with the Angels for $90 million over five years, and could do so again. The outfield market is rather thin so there aren't a lot of choices, but the Royals could also give Jarrod Dyson, an extraordinary defensive player, an expanded role.
It is unclear if this is complete speculation by Morosi, but most likely there is some smoke to the fire, and the Royals have long been known to covet Hunter. The 39-year old right-hander is coming off a season where he hit .286/.319/.446 with 17 HR 83 RBI. He signed a two year-$26 million with Detroit before the 2013 season, and would probably be looking for a similar type deal this winter.
Hunter is an 18-year veteran who has spent time with the Twins, Angels, and Tigers. He has been a controversial player for saying black Latinos are "imposters" and for his anti-gay remarks.
The Royals could have $7-12 million to play with next year, or perhaps more if they increase payroll and/or trade Greg Holland or Wade Davis.