The KC Royals should definitely tender two pitchers and an infielder.
Unless the Royals sign pitcher Brady Singer to a lucrative long-term deal, which is almost a given for the club’s now undisputed No. 1 starter, they’ll tender him a 2023 contract.
Singer flourished after spending three early-season weeks at Triple-A Omaha and finished, due in part to his increased usage of the changeup he eschewed for so long, 10-5, 3.23 with a 2.05 BB/9. His return to Kansas City is guaranteed; time will tell what contractual form it takes.
Less likely to receive an extension, but a lock for a tender, is reliever Scott Barlow. Kansas City’s closer saved a career-high 24 games and has 40 over the last two seasons. He also improved his 2021 2.42 ERA to 2.18.
Labeling infielder Nicky Lopez a “definite” tender target might be surprising, but makes sense. Although he didn’t repeat the stellar season he had in 2021—instead of hitting .300, he slumped to .227—that he remained versatile with starts at shortstop, second and third, played 141 games, and stayed off the Injured List make him the best choice for utility infielder next season, especially considering Adalberto Mondesi’s maddening injury history, baggage Lopez doesn’t have.
Who will the Royals tender, and who will they let go?