The Royals acquired the 33-year-old utilityman Monday from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named. Freel has started at five positions in his career, playing the infield and outfield, and has a career .355 on-base percentage with 143 stolen bases.
"We can use him at every position other than shortstop, and his history shows that he has the ability to get on base and steal," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "He gives us a lot of options when it comes to moving guys around."
Freel started the year with Baltimore and later was traded to the Cubs. He was batting .140 overall.
Freel was designated for assignment by the Cubs on July 2 when they acquired utility infielder Jeff Baker from Colorado. Freel played in only 14 games for Chicago, batting .143. He also battled a hamstring injury.
"I talked to him today, and he says his health is 100 percent," Hillman said. "He had hamstring surgery last year, and he's had problems with a concussion and his hamstring this year, but he's been working out in Florida, and he says he's excited to get up here and help us."
The Royals also get cash to help offset Freel's salary. He was expected to join Kansas City for Tuesday night's game at Detroit.
The Cubs may have to wait a while to learn who they will get from the Royals for Freel.
"We have until Oct. 15 to complete that," general manager Jim Hendry said Monday.