The Royals began work on their bullpen with the signing of right-hander Brad Thompson to a minor-league contract on Thursday.
Thompson, 27, was 2-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 32 games including eight starts for the Cardinals last year. His fastball is in the upper 80s, with a slider, curveball and changeup mixed in. Advanced analysis indicates his fastball and slider were both strong pitches when he went 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA in 40 relief outings as a rookie in 2005, but the quality of each has since dropped.
Thompson was able to sign before the start of the free agent period tomorrow because he was a minor-league free agent. Thompson was not added to the 40-man roster but figures to have a strong opportunity to make the big-league team out of spring training.