For the first time in Dayton Moore’s tenure with the Kansas City Royals, a player went to arbitration. Brandon Maurer is the first play the Royals could not reach an agreement with since 2006.
The Royals found themselves in an unusual place Thursday. For the first time in 12 years, they found themselves in an arbitration case that had to have a judge make the final decision.
Bradon Maurer was one of three pitchers acquired in a five-player trade in July. When the Royals traded for Maurer he was the San Diego Padres closer. The hope was that he would help solidify the back end of the Royals bullpen.
Maurer had a less than impressive 5.75 ERA with San Diego before being traded. However, when you look at his numbers, he only had two games that were really bad in his 43 games with the Padres. He gave up four runs in May against Texas and four runs in June against Arizona. If you look at his ERA without those two games he has a much more intriguing 3.92 ERA.
He also had 20 saves in 23 attempts before being traded. What was most exciting though was his strikeouts-to-walk ratio (K/BB). He had 38 strikeouts and just eight walks over 39.1 innings. That puts him at nearly a strikeout per inning and a 4.75:1 K/BB ratio. When looking at his numbers, the upside seemed great. The fact that he was still under arbitration for two more years made the trade seem promising.
Unfortunately, that did not continue when Maurer came to Kansas City. After posting a 5.75 ERA during the first half of the season, Maurer posted an abysmal 8.10 ERA with the Royals.
Not only did his ERA skyrocket (throwing just 20 innings over 26 games) but his K/BB ratio plummeted. He went from a K/BB ratio of 4.75:1 over nearly 40 innings to a 1.91:1 K/BB ratio over 20 innings.
His role as a closer was also non-existent. Mainly because the Royals have Kelvin Herrera, but Herrera struggled for most of the year. Maurer could have taken the role if he would have had success with the team. Posting an 8.10 ERA prevents the team from being able to make that type of commitment though.
Which leads us to the interesting case of Maurer and the Royals. The Royals offered Maurer $2.95 million for 2018. Maurer countered by asking for $3.5 million.
It does not come as much of a surprise that Maurer lost his case. However, the one fact that was in his favor during the case was most likely the number of saves he converted. When the year finished he had converted 22 saves of 26 possible chances. Even with a higher ERA, his saves being as high as is was helped get him his $1.05 million raise from 2017 to 2018.
The one thing that many people do not take into consideration is that when these cases are happening the team are giving reasons why the player is not worth the money they want. This can easily cause friction between the player and organization.
After being in an unfamiliar spot, it seems as if Dayton Moore handled it in the best way possible. He was able to win his case, and according to Maurer, they never had a moment where Maurer felt like an argument was about to break out. This should not surprise anyone, but with this being a first, no one knew what to expect.
What do you think Royals fans? How do you feel about the Royals having to go to arbitration with a player who has been on the team for less than a year? Do you think Maurer is worth the $3.5 million, or did the Royals get it right with $2.95 million? How do you feel about the Royals going to arbitration? Let us know your thoughts!