Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
According to a report from Andy McCullough, the Royals are finalizing a two-year, $4.15 million contract with Kelvin Herrera. Jeffrey Flanagan first reported that the sides were close to an extension. Since Herrera is a Super Two player, the team will still have control of him for two years beyond this deal.
Enough words have been written about Herrera that you don’t need another in-depth analysis of his monster 2014 season. His strikeouts were down, but should bounce back, and even if he’s unlikely to allow zero home runs again, he’ll still be outstanding for the Royals next year. There was talk of giving him an extension earlier this offseason, so the announcement of this deal should come as no surprise.
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Perhaps the only relatively odd thing about this agreement is in its brevity. Since Herrera isn’t going to make that much in the next two seasons, why wouldn’t the Royals add on another year or two in order to keep him locked up to a reasonable rate? We don’t know what the Royals’ initial offer was, but it’s possible that Herrera’s camp preferred a shorter deal, because if he becomes the team’s closer in the next couple of years, his earning potential increases exponentially.
It’s not that unlikely of a scenario that Herrera takes over that role, either. Greg Holland is going to be extremely expensive in 2016 and may get traded, while Wade Davis‘ team options continue to escalate to the point where he could be dealt as well. I’m guessing Davis is still in Kansas City in 2016, but Herrera has the ability to close games, and in the arbitration process, saves equal money.
Even if Herrera doesn’t become the closer, this deal is still a bargain. Simply look at the contracts free agent setup men have gotten this winter. Zach Duke got 3 years and $15 million. Luke Gregerson got 3 years and $18.5 million. Sergio Romo got 2 years and $15 million. Luke Hochevar is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and he got 2 years and $10 million. Pitching is expensive, even if it’s only for 65 innings per year.
In other words, having Herrera signed to this kind of contract is a great deal for the Royals. As for Herrera, he’ll now have more than $4 million in the bank, no matter what happens this season. His original signing bonus from 2006 is unknown, but I think it’s safe to say this is a substantial pay raise. When the two sides submitted figures, the midpoint was just north of $1.5 million, so the 25-year old Dominican can probably expect something close to that this year, with another increase for 2016.
The Royals now have just two arbitration-eligible players without deals for 2015: Holland and Eric Hosmer. Dayton Moore has just over a week to settle with both guys and avoid blemishing his record.