The Royals have signed 33 year old free agent outfielder, Jose Rios to a 11 million dollar contract. Alex Rios becomes the second free-agent hitter that Kansas City has signed in recent days after The Royals signed Kendys Morales, to a two-year, $17 million deal last week.
Rios had a an off year in 2014 after two good seasons with the White Sox and The Rangers. Rios .280 with just four home runs last year in 131 games. It was Rios’ lowest single-season home run total since his rookie year of 2004, when he hit just one in 111 games. The Puerto Rican native also ended up with his lowest steals total (17) since 2011.
Whether Rios’ career will continue to go downward, (he turns 34 in February) or bounce back to his previous levels remains an open question. He’s always been inconsistent from year to year, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him turn things around in 2015. With an inconsistent bat and defensive skills that have deteriorated in recent seasons, there is a chance he gives Kansas City little value. The Royals, for their part, are willing to find out, and the fact Rios only required a one-year commitment makes him worth the risk.
Back in 2013, Rios hit .278 with 18 home runs and stealing 42 bases in 156 games for the White Sox and Rangers. The year prior, Rios hit .304 with 25 home runs and 37 doubles. When healthy, he provides a rare combo of power and speed, something the Royals are no doubt hoping for.