People outside of Kansas City would probably point to Carlos Beltran or Mike Sweeney as the Royals offensive catalyst over the last couple seasons. But Beltran is historically a slow starter and Mike Sweeney has battled back and neck injuries. The most consistent producer from start to finish over the last two seasons has been outfielder Raul Ibanez. That consistency has headed west. Ibanez inked a 3-year deal worth $13.25-million with the Mariners. The Royals said re-signing Ibanez was one of their top priorities, but their offer wasn’t as rich or as long. They put a two-year deal worth $8-million on the table. Over the last two seasons Ibanez hit .294 with a total of 42 homers and 192 RBI’s. The Royals say they’ll try to replace Ibanez in the free agent market. The good news for the Royals is that they’ll get two draft picks from Seattle in the 2004 draft because Ibanez is a Type A free agent. According to a report in the Kansas City Star, the Royals could re-sign pitcher Kevin Appier as early as today. After starting his career in Kansas City and moving on, Appier returned to the Royals after being cut by Anaheim. Appier will be willing to sign for a lot less because the Angels still owe him $12-million.
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