Royals sign Gore to one-year deal, adding even more speed to roster

Royals pinch runner Terrance Gore scores from third base on a wild pitch to beat the Twins in April 2016.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals‘ commitment to speed took another step forward Tuesday.

Outfielder Terrance Gore, the club’s designated speedster from years gone by, signed a one-year big-league contract with the Royals. In a corresponding move, the Royals designated infielder/outfielder Rosell Herrera for assignment.

Gore, 27, played 67 games with Triple-A Omaha last season, stealing 16 bases in 20 attempts before being traded to the Cubs on Aug. 15. As often was the case with the Royals, he was recalled to the big-league roster Sept. 1. He stole six bases despite just five plate appearances in 14 games with Chicago.

The Cubs made it only to the NL wild-card game against Colorado, but Gore gave them a chance to win by entering the game as a pinch runner in the eighth inning, stealing second base and scoring the game-tying run to force extra innings. They lost in extra innings.

Gore’s five postseason steals as a pinch runner — including one in the 2014 AL wild-card game and another in the 2015 ALDS for the Royals — are tops among active players,

Gore spent most of his eight seasons in the Royals’ organization in the minors but made several notable appearances in the big leagues because of his ability to manufacture runs late in games as a pinch runner. He has 27 regular-season stolen bases in 31 attempts — with only 19 plate appearances.

The Royals ranked fourth in the AL with 117 stolen bases last season, led by Whit Merrifield, who had a major league-high 45, the second year in a row he was tops in the AL. Not far behind was Adalberto Mondesi, who ranked eighth in MLB with 32 in only 75 games. The Royals have since signed outfielder Billy Hamilton (34 steals with the Reds) and utilityman Chris Owings (11 with the Diamondbacks).