Royals sign Alex Rios to a 1-year deal, per report
Rios will bring some much-needed depth to Kansas City’s outfield.
Rios becomes the second free-agent hitter that Kansas City has signed in recent days after the club inked Kendrys Morales to a two-year, $17 million deal last week.
The 33-year-old Rios had a down campaign in 2014 after two strong seasons with the White Sox and Rangers. He batted .280/.311/.398 with just four home runs last year in 521 plate appearances. It was Rios’ lowest single-season home-run total since 2008 (when he played in only 41 games), and the Puerto Rican native also ended up with his lowest steals total (17) since 2011.
Whether Rios will continue to decline (he turns 34 in February) or bounce back to his previous levels remains an open question. The Royals, for their part, are willing to find out, and the fact Rios only required a one-year commitment from Kansas City makes him worth the risk.
Still, Rios wasn’t very good last year with the bat, and his defensive skills have deteriorated in recent years. There is a chance he gives the Royals little of value in 2015.
Back in 2013, he hit .278/.324/.432, belting 18 home runs and stealing 42 bases in 156 games for the White Sox and Rangers. The year prior, Rios hit .304/.334/.516 with 25 home runs and 37 doubles. When healthy, Rios provides a rare combo of power and speed, something the Royals are no doubt hoping for.
Either way, bringing in Rios will allow Kansas City to shift Jarrod Dyson back to the bench, where he can fill in whenever called upon. Rios’ offensive potential is an upgrade over Dyson, and it could prove to be a crucial addition to a Royals offense that struggled throughout much of 2014 despite the team’s memorable postseason run.
With Rios and Morales on board, Kansas City has at least succeeded in lengthening its 2015 lineup. Whether that can help fill in for the loss of James Shields in the rotation and the weaknesses throughout the rest of the club’s roster is a bigger doubt.