In signing Alex Rios, the Royals obtained a right fielder who fits.
“Our ball park and our style of play,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s going to be able to range well for us in the outfield and give us more power.”
Rios’ introduction on Friday at Kauffman Stadium completed the Royals’ busiest week since the World Series.
The club presented three new players — designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales and starting pitcher Kris Medlen along with Rios — and is expected to announce it has agreed to terms with former Pirates right-hander Edinson Volquez.
Kansas City identified needs at those positions as the offseason unfolded.
The Royals looked for another option in right field, which was patrolled by Nori Aoki last season. Aoki became a free agent and was seen as a fallback for the team. The Royals pursued Torii Hunter, who signed with the Twins.
They landed Rios with a one-year deal worth $11 million guaranteed with a mutual option for 2016.
“I’m very glad to be here,” Rios said. “I see a young group of guys moving in the right direction. This is the right fit for me at this time. This team has a lot of energy.”
In Rios, the Royals are getting a player who will turn 34 as spring training starts. He’s coming off a season with the Texas Rangers in which he hit .280 and knocked 30 doubles and eight triples but connected on a career-low four home runs.
Rios has topped 20 home runs in a season three times in his 11-year career, with a high of 25 with the White Sox in 2012. The next season, he stole 42 bases for the White Sox and Rangers.
Injuries contributed to the power decrease last year. Rios played most of the season’s second half on a sprained right ankle. He also missed time late last season because of an infection in his thumb.
“I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but it did affect my performance in the second half,” Rios said.
Rios declared himself “100 percent,” and will now join an outfield that performed at a remarkably high level defensively last season. Left fielder Alex Gordon won his fourth Gold Glove, and center fielder Lorenzo Cain has some of the game’s top defensive metrics.
“He’s going to blend in naturally,” Moore said. “He’ll provide us with leadership and experience, and the athleticism really fits our style of play.”
Rios spent his first six years with the Blue Jays and was an All-Star in 2006 and 2007. He’s a .278 career hitter, and he joins Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins as the three active players with at least 300 career doubles, 50 triples and 150 home runs.
Rios has appeared in 1,586 career games, but none of his teams has reached the playoffs.
“Getting to the playoffs is one of the main things for me,” Rios said. “I’ve had a long career without the chance to experience a playoff game.
“This team, with what I saw last year, we have a pretty good chance of doing that again. That was one of the things I took into consideration when I chose where to go.”
To clear space on the 40-man roster for Rios, the Royals requested waivers on prospect Carlos Peguero, a power hitting outfielder who spent most of last season at Class AAA Omaha.