A well-paid but underperforming Royals player might find his way in the NL.
Almost a year has passed since the Royals replaced the arbitration-avoiding $2.72 million contract they gave Hunter Dozier in December with a surprising, if not shocking, four-year, $25 million deal just two months later. His new arrangement triggered, albeit on a smaller scale, memories of the multi-year deals Alex Gordon and Danny Duffy signed but really never quite lived up to.
Dozier’s deal was questionable even before he played a game under its terms. Although he impressed with 11 homers in 102 games in 2018 and his 26-homer, 84-RBI, .279/.348/.522 2019 campaign, COVID-19 cut into his 2020 season and he hit only .228, then slumped to .216 last year.
But Dozier’s strong 2021 finish—six homers (he ended the season with 16) and .272 average over September and October—means he may be on National League radars. It behooves the Royals to find out: he currently has no everyday position to play and hasn’t shown solid, consistent signs that he’ll measure up to his $25 million contract. Kansas City might have to assume responsibility to pay a portion of what’s left on the deal, but could be money ahead if they can trade him for at least a bit of value.