If nothing else, the Royals are cornering the market on baseball’s fastest players during this offseason.
On Tuesday, the Royals announced they signed outfielder Terrance Gore to a one-year split contract, meaning he’ll make $650,000 annually when in the majors and $350,000 when in the minors. He also has the potential to make $100,000 in performance bonuses.
The move came 125 days after the Royals traded Gore to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations in August.
Gore, who appeared in 49 games over four seasons with the Royals, stole 21 bases without recording a hit. He was a postseason terror on the base paths in 2014 and 2015. In six playoff series, Gore stole four bases in eight playoff games and scored a pair of runs, including one in the 2014 World Series.
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Last week, the Royals signed free-agent Billy Hamilton, a former Reds outfielder. Hamilton has long been regarded as one of the fastest players in baseball, along with Gore. And the Royals have shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, who stole 32 bases in 75 games, and has shown off blazing speed on the base paths.
“It’s going to be a really fast team,” Gore told The Star on Tuesday. “It should be very interesting. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see what we can do as a team.”
At the Winter Meetings last week, Royals general manager Dayton Moore told The Star about the need for speed in the outfield.
“There’s a certain type of player that we think is really important (in order) to put together a successful and impactful outfield unit,” Moore said. “We gotta be able to cover Kauffman Stadium.
“There’s a very select few that have the ability to play center field in Kauffman Stadium well. If you can acquire a player or players like that, you have to be aggressive. That’s how we feel.”
After being traded to the Cubs, Gore appeared in 14 games and collected his first major-league hit in five at-bats (.200 average) while stealing six bases without being caught.
Gore, 27, also stole a base and scored a run in the Cubs’ 2-1 loss to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game.
But he’s returned to the franchise that drafted him in the 20th round of the 2011 draft.
“I’m back at home, basically, because I’m home grown,” Gore said. “It’s good to be back.”
To make room for Gore on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated infielder/outfielder Rosell Herrera for assignment.
Gore is proud to be back on the major-league roster.
“It’s a really big accomplishment,” Gore said. “I’m going to do my best and lay it out on the field.”