Fruitful week for Royals at Meetings

Fruitful week for Royals at Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Although the Winter Meetings were relatively calm from a player movement standpoint, the Royals certainly made their presence felt.

They upgraded their starting rotation by signing free agent Gil Meche and trading for Brian Bannister, both right-handers. And they released starter Runelvys Hernandez.

Deals done: The Royals signed long-time Seattle starter Meche, who was 11-8 last year for the Mariners. Meche, 28, got a five-year contract. The Royals also gave up one young arm (reliever Ambiorix Burgos) to pick up another in a deal with the New York Mets that brought Bannister to KC.

Rule 5 activity: The Royals picked up one of the marquee players with the No. 2 overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. Right-hander Joakim Soria (San Diego), who has some experience as a closer, projects as a starter who should compete with other young arms in the Royals farm system for openings in a developing rotation. They lost catcher Adam Donachie to Philadelphia.

Goals accomplished: The rotation had been a priority for general manager Dayton Moore and he made big strides by adding Meche and Bannister. Moore figured they'd have such an impact that he felt comfortable releasing Hernandez, a disappointment last season.

Unfinished business: With Burgos gone, the Royals still find themselves without an experienced closer. The free-agent market looks barren at this point, so they will either have to turn to an internal candidate or use their glut of outfielders to pry a capable closer away from another organization. Moore still hasn't given up on Miguel Batista or other free-agent starters.

GM's bottom line: "With Meche, we got a guy who can anchor our pitching staff going forward." -- Moore

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for Dick Kaegel contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.