Ex-Card Sanders signs with Royals

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The outfielder signed a two-year, $10 million contract.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals signed veteran outfielder Reggie Sanders to a two-year, $10 million contract Friday night, bringing him to the American League for the first time in his 16-year major league career.

The Royals, continuing their flurry of free-agent signings after a club-record 106 losses last season, also signed right-hander Joe Mays to a one-year contract and expect the sinkerball specialist to have a place in their rotation.

The team does not disclose details of contracts.

The 38-year-old Sanders hit .271 with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs this past summer for St. Louis. He broke his right leg in an outfield collision with Jim Edmonds on July 15, but hit .305 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 40 games after returning to the lineup in September.

He has a career average of .267, with 271 homers and 869 RBIs.

"We're asking for dependable production because of his history," general manager Allard Baird said Friday night, "but we're also asking for his leadership as a person within the clubhouse. He fits in well with our club, and we're hoping he'll have a huge influence."

The 30-year-old Mays, who has been with the Minnesota Twins since breaking into the majors in 1999, was 6-10 with a 5.65 ERA last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2003 to replace ligaments in his elbow.

His best year was 2001, when he went 17-13 -- his only winning record in the majors -- and was named to the AL All-Star team.

"With a guy coming off Tommy John surgery, it's usually the second year those guys come around," Baird said. "We like our defense, especially our infield defense, and its potential to be a good fit with a sinkerball pitcher."

The Royals had already signed free agent infielders Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz, pitcher Scott Elarton and backup catcher Paul Bako.

"If something presents itself, we'll surely take a look at it," Baird said. "But as of right now, we think we've addressed our needs as we head into the offseason."

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