The Kansas City Royals have not exactly had a reputation for spending money under David Glass’ ownership. Even with the record payroll from last season, the Royals were primarily comprised of middling contracts and players signed to extremely team friendly extensions. In fact, the largest contracts ever given out by the Royals were matching five year, $55 Million deals handed to Mike Sweeney and Gil Meche.
That may change this offseason. With players like Alex Gordon and Ben Zobrist as free agents, the Royals will have quite the decision to make when it comes to retaining one, or both, of these players. Should Glass look to keep last year’s championship team intact, the checkbook will need to open. With that being the case, Glass may be the key to the Royals free agency.
This is particularly true if the Royals are planning to re-sign either Gordon or Zobrist, if not both. Both players are expected to command a hefty price tag in free agency, with some projections placing their expected contracts far above that previous record. The days of Meche and Sweeney having the largest contracts in Royals history could be about over.
Of course, it is a matter of how willing the Kansas City Royals would be to extend themselves for either player. Gordon will be 32 at the beginning of the 2016 season, and Zobrist is 34 years old. Even if the Royals are willing to go to five years for Gordon, it seems unlikely that Zobrist would receive more than three years from Kansas City.
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Should the Royals be willing to go to a fourth year with Ben Zobrist, if that is what the market dictates, it is likely that his overall contract would surpass the deals signed by Meche and Sweeney. It is a virtual certainty that Alex Gordon would eclipse that $55 Million mark, even if he only receives a four year contract. At some point, possibly in the very near future, the Royals will have a new leader when it comes to the largest contract in team history.
As the Royals economics change, so to will the contracts and the players they target. Extensions may be more common as more money is pumped into the payroll, and while Dayton Moore has had great success in the middle tier of free agency, he may not need to shop there from necessity. The Royals could well be true players in free agency now, as their winning ways could be attractive to prospective free agents.
At some point, the Kansas City Royals will have a new team record contract. Alex Gordon, and possibly Ben Zobrist, could set that mark this offseason.