Royals Set Offense, Sign Alex Rios

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On Monday, the Royals went out and signed themselves a right fielder. Alex Rios has been a rumor the last couple of trade deadlines, and it seems Dayton Moore still had his eye stuck on him.

Rios signed a 1 year deal worth $11 million. He will take over right field from recently departed Nori Aoki.

There are two sides to this signing as Rios has displayed power in the past, hitting 17 or more home runs 6 times in his career. The caveat to that is the down season he had last year in which he only hit 4. He finished 2014 with a line of .260/.298/.394 and if he is to repeat that type of production, then this move will be universally panned. However, if he can find a way to return to his career norms (.278/.323/.439) then it would prove to be a shrewd move on the part of Dayton Moore in finding an inexpensive piece to fill a large hole.

There are some reports that a thumb and ankle injury are to blame for much of Rios' lackluster campaign last year, but only time will tell.

The curious part about this move is that by and large, Royals fans just got finished blasting the efforts of Nori Aoki for his performance during the 2014 season, even though as a whole it was a much stronger effort than what Rios displayed last year. Even offensively, they were only seperated by 1 point in OPS+. It would have seemed a safer bet to bring Aoki back rather than take a much larger risk in Rios, but it may be entirely possible Aoki's camp priced him out of a return trip. It will be very interesting to see what he will sign for in the upcoming season, because while he does not possess the power Rios does, at the end of the day they seem to be capable of the same overall offensive production and Nori would seem a touch better defensively (even though he doesn't always LOOK like good, he manages to make most plays).

Alex Rios has a higher ceiling than does Aoki and many of the lower tier options, but he also has a lower floor. He has declined over the last couple of seasons and its not typically good business practice to expect declining players to all of the sudden rebound, but it injury issues have been the major factor in his decline, its not entirely out of the question he could have a bit of a resurgence.

Kansas City has yet to acquire the major piece that many fans had hoped to see. Rios seems to be another bargain bin type of acquisition that doesn't seem to upgrade the team in any way from what they had last year, except for a slight uptick in power IF Rios is able to rebound. At the same time, he does have some upside and was brought in on a 1 year deal, meaning if he doesn't pan out, it will not be detrimental to the long term plans of the club.

With the Morales and Rios signings, Dayton has made it perfectly clear that he is going to be reliant on his young core of players to once again carry the Royals to the post season. With the rest of the Central division seemingly becoming stronger by the day, that core will have to most likely progress in order to simply maintain the number of wins KC had last year.

The last big piece needed is starting pitching. It would seem with the team going somewhat of a cheap route in regards to DH and RF that maybe…just maybe this may be where Dayton spends the one big contract many seem to feel he has sitting in his back pocket. This would also seem to be the most in line with his thinking as he has always felt pitching is key. Finding a suitable replacement at the top of the rotation for James Shields (or even Shields himself) was a priority for Dayton, and remains the last unsolved piece of this puzzle.

 

 

PHOTO: Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY Sports

 

 

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