2:39pm: Duensing would receive a $2MM base salary upon making the club, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
1:35pm: The Royals announced that they have signed infielder Clint Barmes, left-hander Brian Duensing and right-hander Ross Ohlendorf to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training.
Barmes, 37 in March, will compete for a job as a backup infielder in Kansas City. The 13-year veteran spent the 2015 season with the Padres and struggled at the plate, batting just .232/.281/.353 in 224 plate appearances. Barmes has never been too much of a threat with the bat, as his .231/.285/.340 slash over the past five seasons indicates, but he has an excellent defensive reputation and can serve as a backup at either shortstop or second base if necessary. Omar Infante and his contract are entrenched at second base, while Alcides Escobar is slated to man shortstop and Christian Colon figures to be the primary utility option, but Barmes could play his way onto the roster with a solid spring showing.
Duensing, 33 this weekend, is an Omaha native and former college roommate of Royals icon Alex Gordon from the pair’s days at the University of Nebraska. He’s spent his entire career with the Twins since being selected in the third round of the 2005 draft. After struggling as a starter early on, Duensing carved out a spot as a lefty reliever and put up solid bottom-line numbers with Minnesota in 2013-14, logging a 3.67 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9. However, he slipped to a 4.25 ERA last season and averaged just 4.4 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 48 2/3 innings with the Twins. If Duensing lands with the Royals out of camp, it’ll likely be due to his ability to control left-handed hitters; opposing southpaws have managed just a .238/.289/.325 batting line against him throughout his career, although the flipside of that is that righties have roughed him up at a .292/.352/.462 clip. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (on Twitter) that Duensing’s contract can max out at $2.6MM if he’s in the Majors all season, though the specifics of his base salary aren’t known.
The 33-year-old Ohlendorf spent the 2015 season with the Rangers, posting a 3.72 ERA in 19 1/3 innings out of the Texas bullpen to go along with a 4.17 ERA in 36 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock. Ohlendorf spent a pair of seasons in the Pirates’ rotation from 2009-10 but struggled with the Bucs in 2011 and continued to struggle with the Padres in 2012. He’s enjoyed reasonable success as a swingman in his past two big league stints — 3.39 ERA in 79 2/3 innings between the Nats and Rangers — and will look to land a similar job with the defending World Series champs in 2016.