Royals and Lorenzo Cain Avoid Arbitration with $2.725 Million Contract
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (who just moved over from FOX Sports Kansas City), the Royals and Lorenzo Cain have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2.725 million contract for the 2015 season. Cain can also earn $25,000 for collecting 505 plate appearances, and another $50,000 if he makes the All-Star game. That figure is $75,000 below the mid-point of the figures exchanged, so if things go well, he’ll end up right at that $2.8 million.
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Jon Heyman reported that the two sides were set to go to the arbitration hearing today, so Dayton Moore just barely kept his perfect record intact. However, he still has work to do, as Eric Hosmer, Greg Holland, Danny Duffy, and Kelvin Herrera all remain unsigned.
As for Cain, he had a breakout season in 2014, posting career highs in just about every important category, including wRC+ (111), and perhaps most importantly, plate appearances (502). Injuries have plagued him throughout his professional career, although the 28-year old has changed his workout regimen to include more stretching that could help keep him on the field, where he can do fun things like this stuff:
Were it not for a relatively new rule about playing time distribution, Cain would have certainly been a strong contender – if not a favorite – to win a Gold Glove, either in center field or right field. He also stole 28 bases in 33 attempts, meaning he brought a ton of value to the Royals in all facets of the game.
The regular season was great, but Cain made an even bigger impact in the playoffs, where he hit .333/.388/.417, all while showing a national audience his defensive prowess, and winning the ALCS MVP award.
I have mentioned Cain as a long-term extension candidate, and this deal doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t happen, but the starting figures will need a slight bump, as he’ll be making nearly half a million more in 2015 than MLB Trade Rumors projected. As I said originally, it probably isn’t a bad idea to make sure the 2014 version of Cain is the real deal before committing major dollars to him. He has the injury history, and as recently as 2013, Cain’s hitting was pretty bad (80 wRC+), so caution is warranted.
Cain will be a crucial part of the 2015 Royals, and if he does revert to his pre-2014 self, the team’s success could take a pretty serious hit. But if he can build upon what he did last season, his new salary will be an absolute bargain, and the Royals will have a great opportunity to build upon what they did as well.