After a slew of bad news, Thursday brought some good news for the Kansas City Royals’ fan base. The Royals announced a four-year contract extension with short stop Alcides Escobar.
The deal is four years guaranteed for $10.5 million and there is a potential ceiling of it being worth $21.75 million with two club options.
This is obviously significant news for the franchise, as the extension puts the gold-glove caliber short stop in Royals blue through the 2015 season, with club-friendly options for 2016 and 2017—Escobar’s free agency years.
Escobar joins the young core of players that are signed through the next four-to-five years, which are seasons that the franchise fully expects to compete for division titles and World Series championships. Dayton Moore and company seem to be doing their due diligence in terms of keeping around the bulk of the talented Royals youth through the 2016 season and this a very good thing.
The Royals most recently extended catcher Salvador Perez through 2019, which makes sense, considering he’s only 21 years old and plays at a much more vital position. That deal was terrific for the Royals, and the Escobar deal is tremendous as well—let’s just hope the short stop Jesus can stay healthy for more than two weeks after signing this extension, unlike fellow Venezuelan Perez.
Locking up Escobar insures above-average defense up the middle for at least the next four seasons. It’s something the Royals have not possessed for quite awhile, before Escobar arrived. His bat produced .254/.290/.343 in his first full major league season. I, and the Royals, would prefer it to be closer to .270/.310/.360 with the same level defense. But, in a team already full of offensive weapons, locking up good defense is not such a terrible thing.
Escobar will be 30 years old at the end of the deal and entering the “downside” of his career. While he is in a Royals uniform he will be in the expected-prime of his career and should perform at his highest capability during his contract.
More importantly, the move insures the Royals infield, including Perez, is set through at least 2016, as Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Johnny Giavotella are all signed through 2018. The average age of that infield, is currently 23 years old, for those of you keeping score at home.
With the Escobar and Perez signings, the youth movement just transformed into a contending reality for the next four-plus seasons. The pieces are in place, some question Giavotella at second base, but regardless, the core of the franchise’s cornerstones are all signed up to play ball at Kauffman for the next several years.
This is a very good thing.
Now they just have to go out and win some ball games.