The Royals added three pitchers earlier this week, but they could be turning their attention to the offense. Despite averaging 5.5 runs-per-game in the month of July, the Royals are still fifth-worst in runs-per-game in the American League. The Royals are dead-last in the AL in OPS from the shortstop and left-field position, and 12th out of 15 teams in production from designated hitter.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Royals are “contemplating” adding a corner outfield bat, although he contends that starting pitching continues to be a higher priority. Crasnick cites Howie Kendrick and Melky Cabrera as possibilities, although Kendrick was dealt last night to the Washington Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN adds that Mets outfielder Jay Bruce would be a good fit.
Cabrera would be accustomed to Kansas City, having spent one year in a Royals uniform in 2011. Now 32, the switch-hitter is batting .289/.331/.430 with 13 home runs in 96 games for the White Sox. Over the last four seasons, he has been one of the toughest hitters to strike out.
Melky Cabrera is in the last year of a three-year, $42 million deal that will pay him about $5 million the remainder of the season. The Royals were interested in bringing him back to Kansas City before he signed that deal. Cabrera is a poor defender, but he hits well from both sides of the plate (although with more power as a left-hander) and could fill in both left-field and DH for the Royals.
Jay Bruce was terrible for Mets last year after being acquired from the Reds, but has rebounded to hit .262/.325/.521 with 26 home runs in 94 games. The 30-year old left-handed hitter has been a three-time All-Star and is on his way to reaching 30 home runs in a season for the fifth time in his career. Bruce has a pretty big platoon split, hitting much better against righties. He was a terrible defender in right-field but has improved defensively this year. Bruce is owed about $4 million over the remainder of the season and will be a free agent this winter.
Other potential outfield bats that could be available include Phillies outfielder Daniel Nava, who played for the Royals last year, Blue Jays first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. If the Royals were to acquire a corner outfield bat that would mean less playing time for left-fielder Alex Gordon, who is hitting just .201/.292/.299 with five home runs in 90 games.