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Melky Cabera Signing Shows Kansas City Royals Hands Are Tied

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Dayton Moore is trying to strike gold. Or maybe that's hold the team over until the cavalry arrives. Either way, fans will be left wanting after what is likely to be another basement-dwelling season in 2011 for the Kansas City Royals.

Dayton Moore is trying to strike gold. Or maybe that's hold the team over until the cavalry arrives. Either way, fans will be left wanting after what is likely to be another basement-dwelling season in 2011 for the Kansas City Royals.

Recently, the Royals made two free agent signings that give a bit of perspective into the thought process behind Dayton Moore's hopes in player acquisitions. Given limited funds, the general manager is hoping that two still young outfielders with plenty of major league experience behind them can strike lightning -- even one of them -- and find the rhythm that made them once valuable contributors at the plate.

Most recently, the Royals signed Melky Cabrera, formerly of the Yankees over several seasons and Braves in 2010. Before that, it was Jeff Francouer. In both instances, you have two players entering what should be their prime years with some decent early success now several years behind them. Cabrera, for instance, had a nice full first season in New York at the tender age of 21, growing up in front of millions with a .280/.360/.391 line. Nothing earth-shattering but certainly respectable for such a young player. A good eye, decent base running abilities and some possible pop to develop was the thought process. Five years later, he's shipped to the Braves.

Last season, a change in scenery did absolutely zero for Cabrera's stock. Another 500 at bats, another mediocre season. Since that fateful first season, Cabrera's lost his ability to get on base, never developed that power and steals a base every 10 games. He's got some gap power, can provide a bat off of the bench and can play all three outfield positions. Then again, he's still 26. You gotta believe something can still change, right?

That's gotta be the hope for these new Royals. They've both been promised the chance to play every day if they earn it, giving the Royals new faces at center and right field. And perhaps this turns into something for Moore. After all, if even one turns the corner, it becomes a top notch trade chip at the deadline. Both players are operating on one year deals and know the pressure is on them to do something while youth is still on their side.

In the long-term scheme of things, Moore's hands are likely tied to do anything more than a move like this. There's no big free agent splash this year when it'd be a wasted year until guys like Eric Hosmer and Mike Montgomery arrive and settle by 2012. Still, it has to be frustrating for fans to know it's another year lost to the rest of the AL Central.