The KC Royals have finally come to an agreement on deals for two of their young players, avoiding the arbitration process.
Heading into the offseason, the Royals were confident. Some deals were made with free agents, and others were made with current players who would otherwise go to arbitration.
With today being the last day to come to terms with those players before heading into arbitration proceedings, some Royals fans may have been asking why deals hadn’t been struck with two, seemingly key players, Brad Keller and Adalberto Mondesi.
While things came down to the wire, the two have agreed to terms. It’s no surprise that deals were struck as Dayton Moore is known for avoiding arbitration, having only had an arbitration hearing once.
Mondesi was reportedly signed for $2.525 million, while Brad Keller brought in $3.35.
Mondesi has been a Royal’s favorite for years but has only ever put together seasons that seem as though he is not reaching his full potential. In 2020, he had one of his worst, seeing a slump that lasted a good portion of the season. Luckily, he managed to see a great end of the season and ended with a slash of .256/.294/.416, along with a major league-leading 24 stolen bases.
Keller is the opposite, coming off one of his best seasons. Keller came to the Royals through a trade after the Rule 5 draft in 2017 and has been a mainstay in Kansas City since.
He began the 2018 season in the bullpen but answered the call when a starter was needed and ended the season with an ERA of 3.08 and FIP of 3.55, giving up only 0.4 home runs per 9 innings. 2020, while a short season, was also a needed rebound for Keller after a down, but still decent, 2019.
Keller pitched 54.2 innings after having been ineligible to being the season due to COVID. He ended with an ERA of 2.47 and FIP of 3.43 and gave up only 0.3 home runs per 9 innings. He saw a decrease in his strikeout rate, but also lowered his walks, showing improved command.
While the reason it took so long for these players to get deals is unknown, it’s possible the Royals were seeking to get both on longer contracts, Keller especially.
While their current deals are for the 2021 season, it’s possible the Royals could look to extend both of them during the season as long as they are producing.
The Royals lineup and pitching staff are starting to come together and look more complete with each deal. Now that Keller and Mondesi are signed, the Royals may be able to focus on one to two more free agents to help move along the rebuild.
The Royals have come to terms with Brad Keller and Adalberto Mondesi, avoiding arbitration.