The KC Royals have plenty of future stars bursting their way onto the scene, but will contracts be in order for some of these players?
The KC Royals seem to be embracing their younger, or semi-younger, players a little more. Hopefully, this trend will continue into the season and fans won’t have to sit through any more innings of Lucas Duda and Chris Owings.
With the rise of some of these younger players though, it’s inevitable that conversations will begin about arbitration, salaries, contracts, extensions, etc. Fortunately for the Royals, there are multiple, younger, players who fall into this area and may soon see contracts that keep them around and are friendly for the team.
Jorge Soler just signed a one year deal with the team, Adalberto Mondesi could find himself in contract talks if he continues his progression, and Brad Keller is another young player who is showing his worth to the team. One other player that could soon find himself in talks for a longer contract is Hunter Dozier.
There has been some chatter among fans about whether or not the team will look towards a contract for the third baseman, but so far nothing has panned out. There was a bit of uncertainty surrounding Dozier after low production 2018 in which he saw time in 102 games, but he changed the pace in 2019.
Dozier saw 139 games and slashed .279/.348/.522 with 26 home runs, 10 triples, 75 runs, and 84 RBIs. Had he not seen a few games out for injury, Dozier may have found a few more home runs and an even higher slash line.
Defensively, Dozier saw some time around the field, but a majority of his games were played at third. He was serviceable as a third baseman and made some good plays, but his offensive production as the saving grace of his 2019 season.
Still, it was thought that a contract may be coming after the breakout season he saw, so where is it? While some may think that after the productive 2019 Dozier had he is deserving of a contract, the Royals likely feel they still have some time to ensure they are making the right decision.
Dozier won’t hit arbitration until the 2021 season, giving the team one more year to get a look at him before having to come to an agreement, or enter arbitration numbers.
One thing holding the team up is likely the unknowns surrounding where Dozier is ultimately going to play beginning in 2020. With the signing of third baseman Maikel Franco, third base looks to be taken. It is assumed Dozier will spend his time in the outfield, where he got a limited look in 2019.
While he has worked hard to improve his third base defense, the outfield provides Dozier with an opportunity for focus on a defensive position that may come more natural to him (think Alex Gordon), but also focus more on his batting, which is already headed in the right direction.
Another possibility to consider with Dozier is his age. He will enter 2020 at 28 years old and end at 29. If Dozier can put together another season like his 2019 campaign, he will not only prove to the Royals his production wasn’t a fluke, but the Royals will be in a decent spot to lock him down and get what could be some of his best years for a decent price.
As long as Dozier continues his offensive progress and can prove himself defensively, he should be in line for a contract, but likely not until after the 2020 season. Dozier is one player that fans should continue to keep an eye on as he is becoming a big part of the future for Kansas City.
Kansas City may find themselves offering lots of contracts in the coming seasons, but for a team building to get back to the postseason, this means they are moving in the right direction. Hopefully, the team can lock these players down before their asking price becomes too high for Kansas City.