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WINTER MEETINGS NOTEBOOK Royals don’t take anyone in Rule 5 Draft

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 10:24 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 7:03 p.m.

— A light week of activity for the Royals at the Winter Meetings concluded Thursday morning — appropriately — with a whisper at the Rule 5 Draft.

The Royals did not select a player in the major-league or minor-league portions of the draft, and they lost only one player, pitcher Tyler Sample, throughout the three phases.

“Where our club is, it’s different right now,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. “Typically, relievers tend to jump out at you, and our bullpen is good.

“We feel we have guys in Triple-A who are very capable of jumping in and being part of that bullpen, too. There wasn’t anybody we felt was markedly better than what we have. So it was quiet.”

Sample, 24, was taken in the Class AAA phase by Pittsburgh for $12,000. A third-round pick in 2008, he never reached the potential the Royals envisioned in going 20-43 with a 5.18 ERA in 123 games over six seasons.

“He’s a big kid (at 6 feet 7) with a lot of projection to him,” Picollo said. “He’s always had a pretty good fastball and a pretty good breaking ball. You hate to lose him because you want to stay with that type of player as long as you can.”

Hot stove buzz

The Royals didn’t exit the meetings without cranking the rumor mill.

They are trying to trim their overloaded outfield, according to sources, by talking to the Dodgers about a trade that would send Justin Maxwell to Los Angeles for speedy infielder Dee Gordon.

Maxwell, 30, batted .268 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 35 games after arriving July 31 from Houston in a trade for minor-league pitcher Kyle Smith.

Gordon, 25, was once viewed as one of the game’s top prospects, but he batted just .229 with a .289 on-base percentage over the last two seasons in 125 games.

The Royals have three backup outfielders after acquiring Nori Aoki from Milwaukee: Maxwell, David Lough and Jarrod Dyson. All three are out of options.

Draft highlight

No, the Texas Rangers don’t really expect Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to chuck his football career to return to baseball.

The Rangers simply hope he’ll consent to play a minor role in their organization, such as coming to spring training to address their players.

“The makeup, the way he goes about his business,” Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller said, “to have that kind of talent be part of the organization is something we really, really like.”

Wilson became the Rangers’ property, in baseball terms, when they selected him in the Class AAA phase of the draft. He played parts of two seasons, 2010-11, at Class A in the Colorado system.

The cost of the pick: $12,000. The next step for the Rangers is to reach out to Wilson to see whether he has any interest in playing such a role.

Wilson, 25, batted .229 but had a .354 on-base percentage as a second baseman with five homers and 26 RBIs in 93 games for Tri-City (2010) and Asheville (2011).

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

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