The KC Royals agreed to terms with starting pitcher Danny Duffy reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson, relief pitcher Louis Coleman, catcher Drew Butera, and catcher Tony Cruz on Friday to avoid arbitration.
The news comes as no surprise since Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore has never gone to arbitration with any player in his 10-year tenure in KC. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are the only remaining arbitration-eligible KC Royals who hasn’t come to an agreement with the club.
Starting pitcher Danny Duffy (27) scored the largest arbitration deal so far at $4,225,000, according to the Washington Post. Dyson’s (31) one-year deal came in at $1.725 million, Louis Coleman (30) at $725,000, and Tony Cruz (29) received $975,000. Fellow catcher Drew Butera (32) agreed to $1.162 million deal with $12,000 in performance bonuses and $50,000 for an All-Star nod.
Expect deals with Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain to come soon.
Moore seems to be clearing the decks so that he can go after a starting pitcher to finish his shopping for the winter. Jon Heyman tweeted this morning that the KC Royals are “making progress” toward a deal with former Diamondbacks and Padres starter Ian Kennedy:
I’m still not convinced that the Kansas City Royals will give up a draft pick to sign a mid-rotation pitcher like Ian Kennedy. However, Kennedy did have a dominant season in 2011 when he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA and 8.0 K/9. Kennedy’s first pitching coach when he came up with the Yankees was current KC Royals coach Dave Eiland. Perhaps Eiland sees an error he can correct that will get Kennedy back to his more dominant prior performance.
The idea isn’t so far fetched. Ian Kennedy crashed to a 4.28 ERA in 168.1 innings last season in San Diego due to allowing a career-high 31 home runs. If Kennedy can avoid the gopher ball, his peripherals remain strong at 2.8 BB/9 and 9.3 K/9. You also need to remember that the Padres fielded an atrocious outfield defense last season, which was particularly bad for a fly ball pitcher like Kennedy.
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Perhaps part of Kennedy’s appeal is that he has pitched more than 200 innings in a season three times, and more than 180 innings five times. The only other prospective Kansas City Royals starter to pitch 200 innings in a season is Edonson Volquez, who has broken that threshold only once (200.1 innings in 2015) in his 11-year career. Kris Medlen pitched 197.0 innings for Atlanta in 2013, but that was before his second Tommy John surgery.
Stay tuned KC Royals fans, once Moore comes to terms with Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, I expect a deal with a starting pitcher to follow almost immediately.