The KC Royals just made sure Hunter Dozier stays around for a few more years.
Perish any thoughts that Bobby Witt Jr., or anyone else for that matter, will squeeze Hunter Dozier out of Kansas City. The KC Royals and Dozier are reportedly in agreement on a multi-year deal that will keep Dozier in the Royal fold for the foreseeable future.
FanSided’s Robert Murray was the first to report (Twitter link) the imminency of a possible Dozier deal Saturday night, then followed up this morning via Twitter with news that an agreement was even closer.
The Royals and General Manager Dayton Moore are no strangers to extensions, of course, having entered into such agreements with Danny Duffy, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Whit Merrifield in the past several years. The Dozier pact, however, comes as more of a surprise than those deals.
Although Dozier has proved his worth to the club, especially with his 2019 season when he tied teammates Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi for the major league lead in triples with 10, hit 26 homers, drove in 84 runs and slashed .279/.348/.522, the possibility of Bobby Witt Jr. displacing him has been widely speculated for some time. Although Witt, the club’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is a natural shortstop, the possibility of him replacing Mondesi at short seems less likely than Dozier giving up third when Witt arrives in Kansas City.
Witt may still force the Royals to move Dozier elsewhere, but this reported new contract means it won’t be out of Kansas City. Instead, Witt could turn out to be the club’s long-term center field solution (presumptive 2021 center fielder Michael A. Taylor is on a one-year deal), allowing Dozier to stay at third, where he appears comfortable. On the other hand, Dozier could move to first base if Carlos Santana doesn’t return when his two-year contract expires after the 2022 campaign; such a move fits well with the thought that the KC Royals won’t rush Witt to the big leagues.
For now, though, Dozier is more secure at third, and on the Kansas City roster, than he was when he signed a single season, arbitration-avoiding $2.72 million deal in December. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the apparent terms of the new contract:
Base compensation of $25 million over four years suggests two things: the Royals are being more conservative (and probably more realistic) with Dozier than they were with Duffy and Gordon, whose respective multi-year extensions of $65 million for five seasons and $72 million for four turned out to be far more advantageous to them than to the club, and the team views Dozier as a valuable, versatile asset as it transitions from rebuild to relevance.
This new arrangement looks good for both parties.
The Royals have wrapped up Hunter Dozier for the next few years. It’s another solid sign that the team means business.