One of the perils of being a small market team is that the KC Royals are always searching for low-risk, high-reward contracts.
For every gamble that works out when the KC Royals are able to sign a player for a low dollar contract, there are several that do not. In recent memory, Homer Bailey turned out to be a decent signing that returned some value. I do not include Mike Moustakas as a brilliant maneuver by KC since the rest of the league blew the chance to sign him and he fell back into the team’s lap by pure luck.
On the negative side, there are many more examples including just last year’s signings of Jason Duda (again), Chris Owings, and Billy Hamilton that return little to no value in trades or are flat-out released. They also take a roster spot that could have been given to a younger player who would gain valuable experience against big-league competition.
More often than not the best value on Kansas City’s roster are players who come up through the minor league system and the Royals have control at a smaller salary until they are eligible for free agency. Sadly, many of those players are dealt before they reach that point in hopes another group of prospects can take their place.
Occasionally money is spent on mid-range free agents with multiple year contracts, but there is often a reason those players are not gobbled up by teams with more money to spend. In the last decade veterans like Omar Infante, Jason Hammel, and Alex Rios signed contracts for several million and did not put together good seasons for Kansas City.
What we will focus on in this article are the players who are putting in excellent returns for what they are paid and most likely will be on their way to large contracts in the future. It would behoove the Royals to work on locking these players up before they reach their free agent years in hopes they can get them for a below-market rate.