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12/04/09 5:51 PM EST

Royals linked to Podsednik, Rodriguez

Moore's preference to upgrade through trades remains

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are searching for a center fielder, so there's little surprise that free agent Scott Podsednik might spark their interest.

The Kansas City Star reported on Friday that club officials confirmed contact with Podsednik's representatives, but Royals general manager Dayton Moore said only: "I can't comment on that, but we've talked to virtually three-fourths of the agents that represent players."

Podsednik was released by the Rockies on April 1 but re-signed with the White Sox and was called up on May 1. It proved to be a good move, because he bounced back from a .253 season as a part-time player with the Rockies and hit .304 for the White Sox with 30 stolen bases, 48 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .340 in 132 games as the primary leadoff batter.

"Our focus is improving our defense in all aspects and all areas," Moore said. "Speed is an important part of what we're trying to do and we're looking at each and all possibilities."

Moore reiterated his intent to pursue the trade market ahead of free agents. Podsednik's salary was $800,000 last season, but he's reportedly looking for a multiyear, mult-million dollar contract after reviving his career, and that might mute the Royals' interest. The White Sox have balked at offering more than a one-year pact.

Podsednik will be 34 when next season begins. He's played nine seasons with the Mariners, Brewers, White Sox and Rockies, with a .277 average and 266 stolen bases. Primarily a center fielder, he played more games in left (72) than center (49) last season.

The Royals also are looking for a catcher, and recently Ivan Rodriguez's name surfaced in connection with Kansas City, even though he's 38 and batted a career-low .249 last season for the Astros and Rangers.

"He can still catch and throw pretty good," Moore said. "You look at the supply out there for free-agent catchers and there aren't a lot of options."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.