2012 Contract Issues: Kansas City Royals

The Royals are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (6)

  • Catchers Jason Kendall and Matt Treanor will be eligible for free agency, so look for the Royals to acquire a veteran backstop this offseason.
  • With Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen, and Jeff Francis signed through 2011, three-fifths of the club's current rotation will be up in the air.  The Royals might lose a couple of veteran lefties, but in Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Danny Duffy, and Chris Dwyer, they've got four highly-rated southpaws not far from the Majors.  Aaron Crow has pitched well out of the team's big league bullpen, but he could also be in the rotation mix next year.  I can picture the Royals adding a veteran free agent or two for depth.
  • Infielder Wilson Betemit may be approaching free agency at the ideal time, as he's assembled a .300/.374/.497 line in 422 plate appearances in his Royals career to date.  He should be able to continue as a third base regular with another club.

Contract Options (2)

  • Joakim Soria: $6MM club option with a $750K buyout.  Arbitration eligible if declined.  Soria hasn't been himself this year, though much of the damage came in one outing against the White Sox.  At any rate, he's not going anywhere.
  • Jeff Francoeur: $3MM mutual option.  Did you know Francoeur is currently tied with Howie Kendrick for the American League lead in total bases?  He could end up knocking 30 home runs for the first time in his career.  Wil Myers is learning to play right field in Double-A currently, so the Royals may prefer a stopgap solution at most for 2012.

Arbitration Eligible (8)

There may be a few non-tenders in this group, but Aviles, Maier, Hochevar, Tejeda, Gordon, and Cabrera are likely to be retained.  I'll estimate something like $15MM for the six.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Royals' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is about $17MM assuming Soria's option is picked up.  $15MM for the key arbitration eligibles puts them around $32MM, $6MM shy of this year's payroll and about $40MM short of the '09 and '10 payrolls.  The Royals will probably increase their free agent activity during the 2011-12 offseason, as things may already be starting to come together.

23 Responses to 2012 Contract Issues: Kansas City Royals Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t say there’s any chance that Francoeur hits 30 home runs. He’s been really lucky (.310) BABIP and he’s putting the ball in play more than ever whether it be in or out of zone pitches. That wont result in a ton of homers which isn’t going to get him to 30 at all. Unlesss he has an even better 2nd half, which isn’t likely to happen. Basically, he’d be good trade bait as of soon if an opposing GM falls for this.

    • ANY chance? There’s not even, like, a 1 in 20 chance he hits 22 home runs in his next 500 PAs?

      • Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

        He’s inline for Major regression according to BABIP, the regression tool (that one of our writers created), his l/r splits, and his recent history. First and foremost, last April his BABIP was over .350, and the year before that his April BABIP was hovering around .340. He usually gets hot in the early months and then quites down significantly as the season progresses. As far as the in-season regression tool that the fantastic Bill Petti created, Francoeur’s in line to regress significantly this year. Moreso towards the middle months. Aside from that, his home runs this year have barely come at home and his BABIP off of lefties is almost .400, so you’d expect that to change.

        So basically Tim, while you’re not wrong at all (sure, there’s a chance he hits 30) the point is it’s unlikely as you could have said the same about him last year. A .310 BABIP isn’t drastic by any means, but if you look at his K%, and Z-Contact or O-contact it really shows that he’s been lucky. Others similar to Francoeur this year include Gaby Sanchez, Aaron Rowand, Brett Wallace, and Brennan Boesch. The most likely out of that group to amass the 30 homer plateau is Sanchez, which is still unlikely

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          First and foremost, last April his BABIP was over .350, and the year before that his April BABIP was hovering around .340. He usually gets hot in the early months and then quites down significantly as the season progresses

          Thats contradictory

          -His K% is on par with his career norms, so is his BB %
          -His GB%, LD% and FB% all on par with career norms
          -His Career BABIP is .299.. you’re claiming his ‘hot’ start is off of a .11 difference? seriously??
          -Only thing that spiked is his HR/FB which is up to 21.1%, career wise its about 8%

          Having just a spike in his power obviously will increase his BABip because of the extra balls leaving the yard. However since his other numbers are all hovering around his career norms, its irresponsible to call him lucky at this point. He is simply hitting for more power, who are you to say thats lucky?

          • TimotheusATL 4 years ago

            People who are able to quote one or two sabermetric stats on this site are just incapable of believing Francoeur could have a great year. It’s mostly because they just hate Francoeur.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            Regardless of whether you like him or not using BABip in this situation simply doesn’t work.

            His career BABip is .299, so far his BABip this year is .310.

            His career ISO is .162 so far this year, its .279.

            So he’s been minisculy lucky in terms of balls put in play, not even close to enough for anyone that actually understands the stat to use it as a reason that he’s been good.

            The real reason he’s been good is that he’s slugging .150 points above his career norm because 13% of his fly balls are leaving the yard

          • TimotheusATL 4 years ago

            Everything you read on Fangraphs, MLBTR, etc. also indicates that he’s swinging at fewer pitches that are inside the strike zone, which would lead one to conclude that he’s being more selective (that is, swinging at the more hittable strikes) with pitches inside the zone.

        • My point is that his chance of hitting 30 home runs is higher than it was last year, since he already booked 8 (no matter how fluky). Based on last year’s rate if he gets another 525 PAs this year you might expect 13 more HR. So what are the chances he hits 9 more HR than expected from here on out (assuming what he’s done so far doesn’t nudge the projection in any way, which I’m not entirely on board with).

          • Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

            Certainly. Definitely makes sense. I’m just saying that things would have to go extremely right, which hasn’t been kind to him in the past and doesn’t usually go in the favor of players a majority of the time for 6 months.

            However, if the Royals are smart, they’d trade him if things don’t go right over the next few weeks, while his value is still high.

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          A regression tool? LOL oh man

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            absolute total bogus argument, but notice how anyone that offers a rebuttle he doesn’t comment on.

          • Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

            Its coded. Its legit. Based on a 3 year period

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            Yes, when a players numbers steadily go down over a 3 year period they are regressing. I don’t think you would have much argument against that. I love the new stats, and I try hard to understand them. But a “regression tool” is too much.

          • Dave_Gershman 4 years ago

            it tells you what his BABIP would be. Not if he would simply regress or not.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      gotta love when people pull BABip stats but have absolutely no clue how to use them properly in an argument.

    • bigpat 4 years ago

      .310 BABIP isn’t that lucky, besides every time a hitter has a very good or breakout season, of course his BABIP will be a little higher than usual. He has a decent chance to hit 30 HR’s but I do think he’ll regress some.

  2. rockfordone 4 years ago

    Frenchy should get 30. Tim is right. Doesn’t he have a ton of games at the Cell left?

  3. I can’t see them retaining both Maier AND Cabrera. One or the other maybe, but not both.

  4. JTT11 4 years ago

    BABIP was a means to evaluate pitchers…..not hitters.

  5. TimotheusATL 4 years ago

    Key words in your sentence: “but to less of an extent”

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