Royals seeking power bat at Trade Deadline

Moore says he's looking to improve club already set with bullpen, defense

Royals seeking power bat at Trade Deadline

KANSAS CITY -- Over the weekend, there were intriguing hints in the Royals' camp as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.

On Saturday, general manager Dayton Moore and his scouting brain trust were observed in a lengthy conference with manager Ned Yost.

On Sunday, asked if anything was up on the trade market, Yost shrugged.

"I don't know," Yost said, "Dayton's up there looking at a bunch of stuff."

Unsurprisingly, Moore wasn't giving any details on that stuff.

"We're just evaluating the landscape and looking for ways to improve our team," the GM said. "We're just looking to upgrade our team in the best way we can, and I'm not going to get specific on things."

Pumping up the offense has been a priority for Kansas City, and the word was that the Royals were looking for a right-handed hitter with power.

Kansas City, with a recent hot streak, is once again looking like serious aspirants for its first postseason berth since 1985. The club is fairly content with its starting pitchers, bullpen and defense.

But while the Royals' team batting average ranks third in the American League, they're 10th in runs scored and last in home runs.

So, among others, they were reportedly looking at the Rangers' Alex Rios, the Phillies' Marlon Byrd and the Red Sox's Jonny Gomes, corner outfielders presumed to be available.

The reason, of course, was that the right-handed bat of their own designated hitter, Billy Butler, was mysteriously lacking much of anything all season.

Then, boom and boom, Butler crushed two long-distance bombs to help win games on Friday and Saturday nights against the Indians.

"As I've said before," Moore said on Sunday, "the success of our team is driven by the current group of players we have, and we expect them to play better and contribute on a more consistent basis, as we've seen Billy the last couple of nights, getting some big hits for us. That's the main thrust right now -- to get the players we have on the roster producing."

So is Billy really back? If so, why go out and deal for somebody that might replace him? Ah, the continuing dilemma of figuring out this game.

"It's not an easy game to figure out, for sure," Moore said.

Positioning a bigger bat in right field for singles hitter Nori Aoki is also a possibility.

Further complicating the Royals' search is that Byrd and Rios reportedly have Kansas City on their no-trade list. Those stipulations can be waived, of course.

Gomes certainly caught their attention 10 days ago when he came off Boston's bench and belted a game-winning homer.

In recent moves, the Royals have sought to solidify their already strong bullpen by acquiring right-hander Jason Frasor from the Rangers and signing free agent left-hander Scott Downs.

But Philadelphia reliever Antonio Bastardo was reported to be on Kansas City's radar as well.

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