Reports: Royals, Guillen agree on deal
Outfielder would add power; GM Moore still seeking pitcher
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Royals general manager Dayton Moore expressed his impatience with Jose Guillen as a negotiating tactic, it might have worked.
"Every day that goes by, the more intrigued I get by other opportunities," Moore said early Monday evening in a session with reporters.
Just in case the reporters didn't get the point, Moore repeated the comment. He'd grown tired of the long delays in negotiations. He implied he was looking around, behind and beyond Guillen for the right-handed power he seeks.
Well, guess what? In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, reports surfaced on FOXsports.com and ESPNdeportes.com that Guillen and the Royals had reached agreement on a three-year, $36-million deal.
Moore could not be reached for comment.
FOX cited unnamed "Major League sources." ESPN attributed an unnamed "relative" of Guillen and reported that the deal hinged on a physical examination on Tuesday.
The Royals had viewed Guillen as possibly the best right-handed hitter available in the free-agent market. He seemed a logical fit for the power-starved middle of the Royals' lineup.
Their initial interest began simmering about a month ago after the Seattle Mariners bought out the remaining year of Guillen's contract. The pot eventually reached a boil, but apparently reached a cooling point with Moore on Monday.
One of the delays on Guillen was believed to be his wait for an offer from the New York Mets. However, the Mets filled their need for an outfielder by obtaining Ryan Church in a trade with the Washington Nationals.
Guillen, 31, is a well-traveled commodity who has played for eight Major League clubs. Last season, his only one for the Mariners, he had 23 home runs, 99 RBIs and a .290 average in 153 games.
As he met with reporters Monday evening, Moore wasn't saying much new. Aside from right-handed power, the Royals are still seeking a starting pitcher.
With a weak free-agent list of pitchers in the United States, speculation has centered on Japanese right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
The Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers were believed to be in pursuit as well, rumored to be offering four-year contracts in the neighborhood of $40 million.
In other years that kind of money would be out of the Royals' price range, but a big chunk has been cleared from the books with Mike Sweeney ($11 million a year) and others out of the house.
Moore wouldn't get into specifics on individual players.
"We'd like to acquire a starting pitcher through trades or free agency, but we feel like we have some strong candidates internally as well," he said.
As for the Royals being interested in Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, Moore merely pointed out that he bats left-handed. The Royals are zeroing in on a right-handed hitter.
Fukudome had a big 2006 (31 homers, 104 RBIs, .351) for the Chunichi Dragons but he was injured part of 2007.
Although the Texas Rangers were said to have contacted the Royals about center fielder David DeJesus, Moore said: "Not to me."
There seemed to be interest in pitcher Zack Greinke but the Royals apparently weren't listening too close to those sales pitches.
Yet Moore said: "No player is an untouchable player."
Moore declared that the Royals were looking seriously at every opportunity and there was no lack of them.
"Every time the phone rings somebody is talking about something else," he said.
Who knows? Maybe Moore picked up the phone after his talk with reporters on Monday night and it was Guillen's agent on the line.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.