Jul 18, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pinch hitter Jonny Gomes (5) rounds third base after hitting a two run home run during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals back off interest in Jonny Gomes, Josh Willingham

While the Kansas City Royals are still searching for right-handed bat that can handle playing right field, the team has apparently crossed a number of names they’ve been believed to have interest in – including Jonny Gomes and Josh Willingham – off their list. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the team has backed off their interest in both Gomes and Willingham, as well as a handful of other options that they’ve been linked to recently – including Chris Denorfia, Justin Ruggiano, Marlon Byrd, and Alex Rios.

The Royals’ interest in Gomes originated roughly two weeks ago. At the time he was viewed as a potential option to platoon with Nori Aoki in right field, while providing an upgraded bat off the bench on days he isn’t starting. Gomes, however, isn’t the strongest defensive option regardless of which corner outfield spot he’s placed in and that seems to be the key reasoning behind Kansas City’s change of heart.

Willingham, as Crasnick notes, would seem unlikely to be a fit for the same reasoning.

The Royals have been a favorite to pickup an outfielder before the trade deadline but it is starting to look more and more likely that they may just stand pat instead. Justin Maxwell, who the team sent down to Triple-A after hitting just .150/.222/.175 to start the year, has been swinging the bat well in the minor leagues (.311/.373/.523 in 169 PA) and could prove to be an option.

Tags: Jonny Gomes Josh Willingham Kansas City Royals

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