The Kansas City Royals had a busy offseason. They signed multiple free agents and dished out extensions, including the largest contract in franchise history.
Let’s take a look at the action from the Royals and front office this offseason.
The Royals were active early in free agency, signing pitcher Mike Minor and Carlos Santana. Minor has spent the past four seasons with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. He returns to the Royals on a two-year deal with a third-year option. He was a key piece of the Kansas City bullpen in 2016, appearing in 65 games and posting a 2.55 ERA.
Minor is going to be in the starting rotation along with Brad Keller, Brady Singer, and Danny Duffy. In 2019, he started 32 games, posting a 14-10 record with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 200 strikeouts.
As for Santana, he signed a two-year deal with the Royals at the beginning of the offseason after spending the last 11 years of his career with the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies. In his career, the power-hitting first baseman has hit 240 home runs and 796 RBIs.
Santana gives the Royals a full-time first baseman. Since the departure of Eric Hosmer after the 2017 season, the Royals have been in need of an established first baseman. Ryan O’Hearn and Ryan McBroom have not been able to show that they’re the future at first for KC. Santana brings consistency to the position and power to the lineup.
The Royals made multiple additions to the outfield this offseason as well. The team signed Michael A. Taylor to a one-year deal. Taylor has a career 3.6 WAR in his seven-year career. The team also brought back Jarrod Dyson. Dyson returns to Kansas City on a one-year. He was a piece of the 2015 World Series Championship.
The Royals brought back former closer Wade Davis on a minor-league deal. He has officially been selected to the Major League roster after a strong spring performance. The right-hander was on the mound and struck out Wilmer Flores for the final out of the 2015 World Series. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in December of 2016 for Jorge Soler. During his previous three seasons in KC, Davis posted a 1.18 ERA with 47 saves and two All-Star game appearances.
Another former Royal returned to the team as Ervin Santana signed a minor-league deal as well. Sanatana did not pitch in 2020, but he posted a 9.45 ERA with the Chicago White Sox in 2019. In his lone season with Kansas City, Santana finished with a 3.24 ERA.
The Royals added to the infield depth with the signing of Hanser Alberto. Alberto signed a minor-league deal, but he was selected to the Major League roster. He brings versatility as he can play both positions up the middle and at the hot corner. Over the past two seasons, Alberto has hit .299 with 36 doubles and 73 RBI’s. He hits left-handed pitching really well with a .350 batting average against lefties in his career.
The Royals’ most notable acquisition this offseason was trading for left fielder Andrew Benintendi in a three-team trade with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. They traded outfielder Franchy Cordero and two Players to be Named Later to Boston and outfield prospect Khalil Lee to the Mets.
With the retirement of Royals legend Alex Gordon, there was a huge void in left field. Kansas City needed to replace Gordon and wanted to add a left-handed bat to the lineup. They got both with Benintendi, who was one of the key pieces to the 2018 Red Sox World Series team. Last season, the former first-round draft pick only played in 14 games before a season-ending rib injury. Over his career, Benintendi is a .273 career hitter and brings a boost to the lineup, and will take over left field.
After returning to the Royals last year, Greg Holland posted a 1.91 ERA in 28 games. He re-signed with the team this offseason and will likely be the closer this season.
Alex Gordon (Retired)
Maikel Franco (Signed one-year deal with BAL)
Mike Montgomery (Free Agent)
Ian Kennedy (Signed Minor League deal with TEX- Added to MLB Roster)
Matt Harvey (Signed one-year deal with BAL)
Franchy Cordero (Traded to BOS)
The biggest loss for the team is one of the greatest players in franchise history, Alex Gordon. Gordon retired after the 2020 season and capped his career off with his eighth Gold Glove Award and second Platinum Glove Award. Gordon has been a staple in left field since 2010 and the loss of leadership will have to be filled by multiple players, including Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield.
Maikel Franco provided power to the lineup last year, but Hunter Dozier is returning to the hot corner this season.
The Royals locked up two key players on their roster this offseason: Hunter Dozier and Salvador Perez. Dozier signed a four-year, $25 million extension. The deal also includes a fifth-year option at $10 million and escalators that can make the deal a full five years, worth $49 million.
Couldn’t be more excited to be a @Royals for at least 4 more years! Thank you to everyone who has reach out, it truly means a lot! 🙌🏻🙌🏻
— Hunter Dozier (@hdozier_17) March 1, 2021
Since being drafted in 2013, Dozier has become a key piece to the franchise and team with his versatility and ability to play at third base, first base, and in the outfield (specifically in right field). Dozier has also broken out offensively and displayed his power.
In 2019, Dozier hit .279 with 26 home runs and 84 RBI’s. He also was tied for the league lead with 10 triples. Despite struggles in 2019, Dozier hit five homers in Spring Training and had a 1.106 OPS. Dozier moves back to third base this season as Maikel Franco joined the Orioles this offseason and After a bout with COVID-19 last year, the Royals are looking for Dozier to return to 2019 form.
As for Perez, the Royals inked their starting catcher to a four-year extension, worth $82 million with a $13.5 million club option in 2026. His deal is the largest contract in franchise history, eclipsing the four-year, $72 million deal signed by Alex Gordon in 2016.
Fourteen years ago in 2006, Perez put himself on the map, especially with the Royals as an infielder. However, the Royals Latin American Scouting Director, Orlando Estevez, asked Perez to throw from behind the plate and was impressed, signing him as a catcher.
Since then, Perez has become one of the greatest catchers in Royals’ history. He debuted in 2011 and became an essential piece in Kansas City ending their 29-year playoff drought and winning the 2015 World Series. In the World Series, Perez was the MVP after hitting .364 as the Royals defeated the Mets in five games.
The six-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner currently ranks seventh in franchise history in home runs (138), ninth in extra-base hits (351), and 10th in RBIs (535), total bases (1,657), and slugging percentage (.449).
After coming back from Tommy John Surgery in 2020, Perez won AL Comeback Player of the Year after hitting .333 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 37 games.
Perez had been extremely vocal about wanting to stay in Kansas City and finish his career in the Royal Blue. This extension makes it more likely and the Royals lock up a veteran leader.
This has been the best offseason from the Royals in a very long time. General Manager Dayton Moore went out and boosted the pitching staff by adding Mike Minor to the rotation and Wade Davis to the bullpen.
Kansas City also added to the outfield with the signings of Jarrod Dyson and Michael A. Taylor. Additionally, the acquisition of Andrew Benintendi was huge. With the loss of Alex Gordon in left field, the team needed to add a left-handed bat and fill the void at the position. They respond by trading for Benintendi and bring in a young, talented piece that will not only boost the lineup but play great defense as well.
The Royals signed first baseman Carlos Santana to bring stability to the position. The 11-year veteran provides additional power to the lineup and will be a big piece as a leader for the young guys. The signing of Hanser Alberto is an upgrade for the depth on the infield as well.
The extensions lock up key players. Hunter Dozier has become a crucial piece to the future of the organization and has his sights on bouncing back after a rough 2020. He returns to third base where he has showcased strong defense and his bat can get hot quick. Finally, the extension for Perez may be the biggest move this offseason as it keeps one of the most beloved players in KC for the immediate future. Perez never wanted to leave KC and wants to finish his career as a Royal, but the team could not afford to let him test free agency.
This offseason has proved that the Kansas City Royals want to win and are ready to win. Mike Matheny enters his second season with an improved roster after the team finished with one of the best offseason’s from any team this year.