WINTER MEETINGS NOTEBOOK

Royals reluctant to make more bullpen cuts

Updated: 2013-12-11T03:37:35Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

— The Royals, after already dipping into their bullpen to bolster their lineup, are hesitant, general manager Dayton Moore said, to thin the unit any further.

“I think we’re just really focused on keeping as much pitching as we can and staying strong with our pitching and our defense,” Moore said. “We’re expecting our offense to continue to get better as we know it will.”

Chatter throughout the lobbies at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, which is playing host through Thursday to the annual Winter Meetings, continues to link the Royals in possible deals involving their relievers.

Moore suggests that, at this point, it isn’t much more than chatter.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations, but, again, I think it’s more in the preliminary stages, just fact-finding missions more than anything else,” he said, “But a lot of dialogue.”

The Royals acquired right fielder Norichika Aoki from Milwaukee, prior to the meetings, in a deal for left-handed reliever Will Smith.

On Monday, manager Ned Yost tabbed Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis as candidates to open next season in the rotation. With Smith’s departure, that shortens a unit that last year set a club record with a 2.55 ERA.

Arming up

Moore’s reluctance to deal a reliever could change if he succeeds in his goal to add another lower-cost veteran starting pitcher.

One possibility is right-hander Jason Hammel, a 31-year-old who battled a forearm injury last season at Baltimore while slipping to 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 26 games.

The Cubs, Pirates and Braves are also showing interest.

Hammel made $6.75 million last season and was initially seeking a three-year deal. He now appears open to a one-year contract in hopes of rebuilding his value.

Three-team deal

First baseman Mark Trumbo, one of the bigger power bats available on the trade market, is heading to Arizona from the Los Angeles Angels in a three-team deal that also involved the Chicago White Sox.

The Diamondbacks get Trumbo and two players to be determined later, one from the Angels and one from the White Sox.

The Angels get two left-handed pitchers: Hector Santiago from the White Sox and Tyler Skaggs from Arizona. The White Sox got outfielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks.

Arms swap

Oakland traded oft-injured left-hander Brett Anderson to Colorado for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Chris Jensen.

Anderson, 25, made just 24 starts over the last three years and will make $8 million next year. The Rockies inherit a $12 million club option for 2015 with a $1.5 million buyout.

Pomeranz, 25, was once a top prospect but is just 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA over parts of three seasons. Jensen, 23, compiled a 4.55 ERA in 28 starts last season at High-A Modesto.

Tabloid fodder

Outfielder Curtis Granderson threw down the cross-borough gantlet at a news conference to announce his four-year contract with the New York Mets for $60 million.

Granderson, 33, spent the last four years with the Yankees, who chose not to pursue him when he became a free agent.

“A lot of the people I've met in New York,” he said, “have always said true New Yorkers are Mets fans. So I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”

Ortiz selected

Boston’s David Ortiz was a unanimous selection as this year’s recipient of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter award after batting .309 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs in 137 games.

It marked the seventh time that Ortiz received the award in his 17-year career. That’s two more awards than Martinez received in his 18 seasons with the Mariners.

Ballots are cast by club beat writers, broadcasters and members of American League public-relations departments. Kansas City’s Billy Butler was the 2012 winner.

The award, which dates to 1973, was named in Martinez’s honor in a 2004 ceremony at Safeco Field.

Angell honored

Roger Angell, 93, will get a niche at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in recognition of a career that spans more than 50 years of writing about baseball.

Angell is this year’s recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which annually recognizes a sports writer “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” in a vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The award dates to 1962 and is named for the long-time editor of The Sporting News. Angell is the first recipient who was not a BBWAA member.

Angell is a senior editor at New Yorker magazine.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

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