New Royals manager Trey Hillman loves country music, so he'll fit right in at the Winter Meetings. They're being held in Nashville, Tenn.But what Hillman wants to hear at the home of the Grand Ole Opry is words and music about right-handed sluggers, starting pitchers and a relief pitcher or two. Those are the Royals' primary targets when the annual gathering is held from Monday through Thursday at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Maybe Garth Brooks, who trained with the Royals in 2004, will drop by and ask for a tryout. To get your fix of Winter Meetings updates, check in with MLB.com and royals.com regularly. We'll bring you the news as it happens from Nashville. 2007 finish: 69-93, fifth place in American League Central Deals so far: Right-hander Colby Lewis claimed off waivers from the A's; right-hander Yasuhiko Yabuta signed to a two-year contract with an option for 2010. Players eligible for arbitration: Catcher John Buck, first baseman Ross Gload, infielder Esteban German, infielder Jason Smith, outfielder Mark Teahen, outfielder Emil Brown, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, right-hander Zack Greinke, left-hander Jimmy Gobble, right-hander Brandon Duckworth, right-hander Roman Colon, right-hander Luke Hudson
Free agents: Designated hitter Mike Sweeney, catcher Jason LaRue (signed by Cardinals), left-hander Odalis Perez, right-hander David Riske, outfielder Reggie Sanders, right-hander John ThomsonNeeds: A right-handed power hitter, starting pitchers, middle relievers. Among AL teams, the Royals were last in home runs and next to last in runs scored. They need some sock in the middle of a lineup which already leans to the left side. They'd like another starter to complement Gil Meche and Brian Bannister and depth for middle relief and setup roles with Zack Greinke moving into the rotation and Riske potentially leaving via free agency. Dealing strengths: There's outfield depth and shoppers can browse through the likes of David DeJesus, Emil Brown, Joey Gathright, Shane Costa, Justin Huber and Mitch Maier. The Royals covet their young stars, though, so it will take big bait to land DeJesus. Although Angel Berroa isn't on the Major League roster, he's available to teams seeking a shortstop.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.