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Royals rumors: Club likely to pursue pitcher and outfielder

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Kansas City is expected to be in the mix for a pitcher and outfielder this winter.

Rios is one outfielder the Royals will have to replace.
Rios is one outfielder the Royals will have to replace.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of how the World Series ends, the Royals are expected to be notably active this winter. As the off-season approaches, Kansas City is likely to pursue both an outfielder and starting pitcher, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Heyman notes he was told Alex Gordon is not expected to exercise his $14 million club option for 2016. Gordon could receive a large contract as a free agent this winter and the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles and Astros are reportedly among the teams expected to express interest in signing him.

Although the Royals are hoping to keep Gordon, Heyman points out, even a four-year proposal might not be enough to keep him Kansas City. However, he did previously accept a four-year contract which could give the Royals reason to believe he will accept a similar deal.

Gordon, 31, thrived throughout 2015. Over 104 games, he batted .271/.377/.432 to complement 13 home runs and 48 RBIs. He has batted above .260 in each of the last five seasons and has proven to be a valuable asset in the outfield. Since he has been so productive, Gordon might be able to receive a five-year deal if that is what he is seeking.

While the Royals are hoping they can re-sign Gordon, their desire to add a starter either via a trade or free agency is expected since they are not likely to retain Johnny Cueto. The Royals realize they "have no hope" of re-signing Cueto, according to Heyman, and will instead focus on adding another starter to their rotation.

Alex Rios did not have a great 2015 but will also have to be replaced. Over 105 games, he batted .255/.287/.353 to complement four home runs and 32 RBIs.

The Royals still have an opportunity to win the World Series, but regardless of whether it happens or not, the club's outlook will likely remain the same. Upgrading the rotation and outfield will be two primary goals this off-season.