Royals might sign pitcher convicted of molesting 6-year-old

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore is thinking about signing a college pitcher who is a convicted sex offender.

Luke Heimlich, a 22-year-old senior at Oregon State University, is considered one of the top college pitchers in the country. In an investigation last year, The Oregonian revealed Heimlich pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation when he was 15 years old. The victim is his niece, who was 6 at the time.

Heimlich went un-drafted earlier this month. The Royals are thinking of signing him as a free agent.

"We do believe in the player and the person in Luke Heimlich," Moore said. "It's just more complex than that as we try to gather information."

"Character is extremely important to this organization," manager Ned Yost said, "but so is second chances. We give a lot of second chances at this organization. So again, we'll see, we'll see how it all plays out."

Fans are on the fence about bringing Heimlich to Kauffman Stadium.

"I believe in second chances, but that one ... that would be tough," fan Seth Black said.

"I would anticipate that they would probably stay away from him," fan Brendan Gary said. "I would think most of our fans would appreciate it if they did."

Moore said: "I think the player has earned an opportunity to play professional baseball ... based on ... how he's conducted himself since we've known him for four or five years, and how he's performed on the baseball field. The truth of the matter is, I was hoping as the general manager, that someone else would draft and sign him. Maybe I don't have enough courage, I don't know."

Moore said the team is still gathering information on Heimlich and that the organization is coming to grips with the situation.