General manager Dayton Moore made the announcement on Friday.
Arbuckle was an assistant general manager with the Phillies, a team he joined in 1992 as director of scouting. He also worked for the Atlanta Braves, Moore's former club, from 1980 to 1992.
"I'm trying to hit the ground running here. It's good to be in the flow," Arbuckle said. "Of course, I've known Dayton basically since he came into pro ball and know so many people in the organization that it's a very comfortable setting to walk into. I feel real good about it."
Arbuckle, of course, brings a championship aura with him.
"It was just a super year," he said. "I tell people everybody in baseball should have the opportunity to go through that once and really enjoy it. Obviously it's what everybody works for. It was a tremendous run and a great way for me to finish up there before I moved on. It was just super all around."
Arbuckle decided to leave the Phillies after the World Series when Ruben Amaro Jr. was selected over him to succeed outgoing GM Pat Gillick.
Helping the Royals build should be a good fit.
"I've been through this process before," he said. "I was with Atlanta for 12 years, so I went through that building process and left there after the World Series in '92 and went to the Phillies. Then we went through the process in the mid- to late-'90s in Philly, so I kind of understand the process of where they're at and hopefully I can lend some perspective on things."
Arbuckle was born in Trenton, Mo., and he and wife Martha live in Liberty, Mo., just outside of Kansas City. As a pitcher, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 but did not sign because he tore a rotator cuff. He's a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University.
"From a personal standpoint, it's super," he said. "We lived in Philly for five years, but my wife and I are both Midwesterners and we never really felt comfortable there, so we moved back here about 10 or 11 years ago. I basically commuted it for the last 10 years, so just the chance of sleeping in my own bed instead of living in hotels is kind of nice."
He joins the Royals just in time for the opening of the free-agent market season, and he's been in conference with Moore about available players.
"We just had a lot of discussions about a lot of different players that I might have seen along the way," Arbuckle said. "I've already been able to give him some thoughts and input on various guys."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.