12/04/07 9:06 PM ET
Guillen may be joined by Andruw in KC
Club looking to add another bat besides former Mariner
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The Royals and Guillen apparently have agreed to a three-year, $36-million contract but the club cannot confirm the deal pending the outfielder passing a physical examination. That could take place on Wednesday.
Guillen fills a top priority set by the Royals coming into the Winter Meetings: a right-handed power hitter for the middle of the lineup. Yet general manager Dayton Moore might be trying to snag two sluggers instead of one.
Jones, a free agent from the Atlanta Braves, is still on the market and Moore is believed to be still in that hunt as well.
After an open forum with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, new manager Trey Hillman was asked if the Royals wanted Jones after already securing Guillen.
"I don't think there's anything that's going to be a stopping [point] because of satisfaction with something. It won't be coming finalized," Hillman said, deftly avoiding a yes or no answer.
"The only thing I can say without compromising my loyalities is that the aggressiveness [by Moore] is extremely exciting and refreshing."
A sticking point apparently is that Jones' agent, Scott Boras, is seeking a five-year contract for Jones that would exceed the $90 million lavished on Torii Hunter by the Angels.
Word is that the Royals would be interested only on a two- or perhaps three-year deal. Jones had a subpar 2007 season for the Braves, and the Royals don't want to go overboard with a lengthy commitment.
If nothing else, it shows that the Royals are willing to spend more money to build a winner this year. They reportedly dropped out of the Hunter chase only after the bidding passed the $70 million mark.
Guillen, pending the physical, is heading for Kauffman Stadium -- which would be his ninth Major League stop in 12 years.
"All you have to do is look at the numbers over the last 10 years and if we were to have that bat, it would certainly help," Hillman said.
"It takes a lot of pressure off some of the other guys and helps some of the younger hitters relax a little bit more and probably even add to their previous years of slugging."
Guillen, 31, has 166 home runs in his 11 seasons with a high of 31 in 2003 split between the Reds and A's. His RBI peak was 104 for the Angels in 2004. Last season he banged 23 homers with 99 RBIs and a .290 average for the Mariners.
The fact that Guillen was named in a newspaper report as a purchaser of performance-enhancing drugs and possibly could face a suspension did not deter the Royals.
Moore declined to comment on that matter but said: "All of our research surrounding this particular player has allowed us, obviously, to feel comfortable in offering him a multi-year deal."
The well-traveled Guillen has a reputation for being moody, notably when he's benched.
"That tells me one thing -- if that's the case, it tells me he wants to play," Hillman said.
Whether that playing will be done in left field or right field depends on what other moves the Royals might make.
"If you look at the potential for arm strength, you like to see your strongest arm in right field," Hillman said. "From the reports I'm hearing, he has pretty good arm strength."
Mark Teahen, who switched from third base to right field last year, is the incumbent and had 17 assists there. If the Royals add another outfield starter such as Jones, there's the chance Teahen could move to first base.
Along with Jones, the Royals remain interested in hot-ticket pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, a right-handed starter that Hillman knows well from Japan.
"I don't think there's anyone's rotation that Kuroda wouldn't fit into. It's just a matter of whether or not you're ready to make that commitment to go down that road," Hillman said.
"I like him as at least a solid No. 3."
The road to obtaining that No. 3 starter would seem paved with gold. Kuroda reportedly is seeking a four-year deal for $40 million or more.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.