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Royals potential free agent DH/OF targets: Chris Denorfia and Michael Morse

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No buzz about these guys, but they'll be cheaper than Torii Hunter, most likely.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This is more a suggestion than a reflection of rumored interest. Many of us have said, "Hey, go get a RH/OF bat to platoon with Jarrod Dyson". Here are two of those guys who also happen to be free agents.

Chris Denorfia is a 34 year old outfielder who has spent time with the Reds, Athletics, Padres, and Mariners. He will turn 35 during the 2015 season. His peak season came in 2013, when his slightly above average bat (109 wRC+) combined with his highly rated defense to produce a 4 fWAR season. That was also the season in which he got the most playing time. Over his career, Denorfia's fWAR accrual rate has been 2.6fWAR/600PA. That's pretty good. I didn't even realize that Denorfia was that decent of a player until I did the calculation.

So, why would he come cheap? Well, he had a miserable 2014 in which he had a 74 wRC+, a lot of it due to a lapse in power and an increase in his strikeout rate. Denorfia's batted ball profile didn't really change; he's a line drive/ground ball type of guy. Really, he's a slightly different version of Nori Aoki. He's a decent defender, a decent baserunner, and he'll usually hit lefties well (career 123 wRC+ against LHP). This is the kind of skillset that the Royals seem to value. He strikes out more than Aoki, but he should have more power. Steamer projects a rebound in 2015, accruing 1.6 fWAR in 641 PA. The Royals were in on him at the trade deadline, so he's on their radar somewhere. He got paid a whopping $2.2M in 2014, and with the poor season he had, he won't get much of a raise, if at all. He's almost guaranteed to provide surplus value.

How about the other guy, Michael Morse? We know him. He helped win a World Series against the Royals. He's a huge dude who doesn't walk too much, strikes out a fair amount, and has a lot of power. He's a right hander who has experience standing in an outfield, but he's really a DH-only type given the Royals' fly ball tendencies and Kauffman stadium.

After an injury-filled 2013, the Giants signed him to a $6M contract for the 2014 season. He rewarded them with a 133 wRC+ in 482 PA. The guy runs a pretty high BABIP due to being a strong ball-striker. He hit "hard" fly balls about 38% of the time from 2012-2014 compared to the league average of 28.5%. He also had higher production on those hard hit fly balls compared to league average. He's a power hitter who doesn't pop up very much.

However, even after achieving a 133 wRC+ over 482 PA, Morse got only 1 fWAR. His defense is that bad. His career 0.9 fWAR/600 PA rate isn't inspiring. Steamer isn't buying much of his 2014, either. Steamer projects Morse for a 112 wRC+ and 0.3 fWAR in 629 PA. However, if he somehow retained a 120-130 wRC+, and the Royals restricted him to DH duties, he might provide some value. He's younger than Denorfia, though he will be 33 at the start of the 2015 season. The FanGraphs crowdsourcing project gave him 1 year, $7M. He's gotta provide about a win's worth of production at that price.

Overall, Denorfia is a better bet to provide surplus value. Realistically, this is only because Denorfia will almost certainly come cheaper. There's a chance that Denorfia's bat is gone, but there's also a chance the Royals would be buying low on a league average player. I like those odds. Denorfia won't be cost-prohibitive.

At any rate, they're both better options than Torii Hunter.