Though Mike Moustakas will be the everyday third baseman in 2012, the Royals found an insurance policy in case of injury by signing Kevin Kouzmanoff, formerly of the Padres, A’s and Rockies (and who was drafted by the Indians). According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the deal is a minor league contract with incentives for if Kouzmanoff makes the major league club and if he reaches an undisclosed number of plate appearances.
The deal could be worth as much as $1.3 million if he meets those incentives. The agreement also gives him an opt out provision if he isn’t in the big leagues by May 1.
Kouzmanoff was regarded as one of the Padres better young players after he was acquired from the Indians. In his first full season in 2007, he hit .270 and had 18 homers as a 25-year-old. In his first four seasons with the Padres (and later A’s), he had at least 30 doubles each season and at least 70 RBI, but he doesn’t get on base much (.300 career OBP) and his power isn’t enough to offset that shortcoming. He’s bounced around the majors the last few years and will turn 31 next season.
The Royals may still opt to have a 13-man bullpen in 2012 for most or part of the season, so that limits how Kouzmanoff could stick on a big league bench. The Royals previously signed Yuniesky Betancourt to play a sort of utility role that could see him get time at third base as well.