Royals: Jesse Hahn signed to one-year Major League contract

Kansas City Royals, Jesse Hahn (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals, Jesse Hahn (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals offseason has been quiet, but they made a little sound with the signing of pitcher Jesse Hahn to a major league contract.

The Kansas City Royals need pitchers, and they made a move to start working on that need. RHP Jesse Hahn was signed to a major league contract by the club, for a club-friendly $600,000 base, with $200,000 in incentives, according to Jeffrey Flanagan.

Hahn’s major league career started off well with San Diego in 2014, posting a 3.07 ERA of 73.1 innings pitched, but he has struggled with injuries since and never put together a season with more than 16 starts, and 96.2 innings.

Hahn was recently designated for assignment by the Royals back on December 2nd in an effort to make some room on the roster. Hahn has spent time with Royals since coming over in a trade from the Athletics in 2018 but missed the 2018 season entirely due to an ulnar collateral ligament injury.  Hahn’s recovery continued into the 2019 season, seeing him back on the mound for only 4.2 innings.

Hahn’s signing leads to questions of how the Royals will line up for the 2020 season, and if there are any more free-agent pitchers signed, will they be starters or strictly bullpen arms. If the Royals intend to stick Hahn in the rotation, assuming they continue with 2019’s trend, that will round out their 5, with Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy, and Hahn.

While only time would tell, the signing of yet another starter could shake up the rotation a bit. Come spring training, those listed above and maybe a few others, such as Jorge Lopez and Glenn Sparkman, will be fighting for a spot in the rotation.

The rotation is likely pretty set, but Hahn could see some movement as he tries to ease his way back into a major league pitching role. While he struck out 7 in the 4.2 innings he saw in 2019, he also walked 6 and recorded 7 earned runs.

That sample is tiny and shouldn’t be used to try and determine the performance that Hahn will have in 2020, but it shows that in his first couple of innings back, he did struggle. Nobody knows what the Royals will have planned for 2020, and it’s a wonder if they have any set plans, but Jesse Hahn creates an interesting dynamic that may see another year of pitchers playing musical chairs around Kauffman Stadium.

While it’s no big-name signing, the Royals have signed a pitcher none the less. The club-friendly deal makes the acquisition much better for the Royals and decreases the risk involved with Hahn. There continue to be a lot of unknowns for the team going into 2020, but one can only hope signings like Hahn will show positives, not negatives.

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The Royals remain fairly quiet, but they still have a few roster spots open for some acquisitions. It’s unlikely the Royals will look to sign any big-name free agents, but there are a few left fans can only hope for, and only time will tell what the team plans to do for 2020.