Royals blogger Rany Jazayerli likes the one-year, $4.25MM deal for Bruce Chen, but writes that it makes this winter's Jason Vargas contract puzzling. Vargas received a much larger guarantee in years and dollars despite being a rougly equivalent pitcher to Chen in recent seasons. Jazayerli also notes that the concurrent decision to designate Emilio Bonifacio for assignment just weeks after reaching a one-year deal to avoid arbitration signals that the club's payroll is at its limit. Here's more Saturday night Royals notes:
- Chen is likely headed for the rotation, Manager Ned Yost tells Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star. "Unless something dramatically happens between now and then, Bruce will probably be slotted in one of those five slots," Yost said. The comments position candidates such as Wade Davis, Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura to battle for the fifth and final spot.
- Within the same article, ace James Shields disputes a recent report that he informed the Royals he's looking for a Zack Greinke-sized deal with just a year to go before free agency. "That’s absolutely not true," Shields said. "I definitely would be open-minded to [an extension]."