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Royals designate Terrance Gore for assignment

The pinch-running experiment appears to be over

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images

The Royals have designated outfielder Terrance Gore for assignment to make room for outfielder Bubba Starling. The club has ten days to trade or release him. The 28-year old was known for his speed, but his did make a career-high 58 plate appearances this year, hitting .275/.362/.353 with six walks and 18 strikeouts, stealing 13 bases in 18 attempts.

The Royals brought Gore back after trading him to the Cubs last summer, re-signing him to a Major League contract last winter. They kept him on the Major League roster to begin the year in an experiment that would use his pinch-running prowess to be a difference-maker in close games. Gore was brought in as a pinch-runner 16 times this season, and stole just five bases in eight attempts in those situations.

Gore fared a bit better with the bat than expected, hitting a respectable wRC+ of 96, although in very limited playing time. The club never gave him at-bats on a regular enough basis to see whether his improvement was a fluke or something more sustainable. He had the second-highest soft-hit rate in baseball for players with at least 50 plate appearances, and the second-lowest hard-hit rate.

Ultimately, the Terrance Gore experiment was a somewhat bizarre effort, but this was the kind of season where the Royals should be trying off-the-wall experiments. It would have been interesting to see Gore get more time as a hitter, just to see what he could have done, but it was pretty clear to everyone that his speed is his meal ticket, and ultimately, the Royals didn’t have enough use for a player whose only real value lies in his ability to steal bases.