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Royals could pursue Torii Hunter in free agency

The team is likely to look for offense if Billy Butler and Norichika Aoki leave via free agency.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Though they are less than 24 hours removed from a crushing one-run Game 7 loss, the Royals are already beginning to focus on their offseason plans. According to Jon Heyman of, Kansas City could pursue free agent Torii Hunter this winter, especially if Billy Butler and Norichika Aoki do not return.

Hunter, 39, is expected to play next season after publicly stating that he had thought about retirement as an option. He has expressed that he would like to return to the Tigers, but word is that there has not been much progress made towards a deal with Detroit.

The Royals will be short on outfield/designated hitter options due to the impending departures of Butler, Aoki and Josh Willingham, and could use Hunter in right field alongside Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. Aoki and Willingham are free agents, while the team holds a $12.5 million option on Billy Butler that is considered unlikely to be exercised.

In 142 games for Detroit in 2014, Hunter hit .286/.319/.446 with seventeen home runs and 83 RBI. He is expected to command a one- or two-year deal on the open market this winter, and has been linked to the Twins along with the Tigers and Royals.