Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
For all the issues that Nori Aoki occasionally had in right field, he was still an on base machine and stole 17 bases. His ability to put the bat on the ball and take pitches made him a perfect fit for the Royals lineup last year. Yet, Aoki just does not have the capability to produce extra base hits, as he produced only 29 of them, including a mere one home run.
With the Royals in need of another power bat, or at least someone with the potential to do more than hit the odd double, Aoki will likely be allowed to leave via free agency. However, the options available are generally underwhelming. Nick Markakis would be a nice fit for the Royals in an ideal world, but he is also the best right fielder available, and therefore, likely beyond the Royals price.
Aside from Nelson Cruz and Yasmany Tomas, who also appear set for quite the payday, the other options available all seem rather underwhelming. Torii Hunter is 39 years old. Alex Rios and Chris Denorfia did not exactly light up the stat sheet. Ichiro? Five years ago, sure.
If the Kansas City Royals are to truly upgrade in right, they may need to do so via trade. Marlon Byrd has once again been mentioned as a possibility, but the soon to be 37 year old may be worth the two years and $16 Million left on his contract once the option is picked up. However, as much as Byrd does not seem to be the ideal fit, he may actually be the best option, as sad as that is.
The other possible option could be to find out what Jarrod Dyson would be able to do in a full time role, moving Lorenzo Cain to right. The Royals outfield defense would truly be stellar, and the speed element of their game would be even more of a constant presence. But can Dyson hold up in such a role?