The Royals will exercise their 2017 club options for right-handed closer Wade Davis and shortstop Alcides Escobar, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Davis will earn $10MM next season and Escobar will rake in $6.5MM.
Davis helped pitch the Royals to back-to-back World Series appearances from 2014-15 and a championship last season, but he was a tad less dominant this year. He still thrived, though, recording a 1.87 ERA, 9.76 K/9, 3.32 BB/9 and 48.6 percent ground-ball rate in 43 1/3 innings. Davis threw 65-plus innings in each of the previous two years, but he missed significant time this season with a forearm strain. Landing on the disabled list in late July – right before the trade deadline – helped put the kibosh on a potential deal involving Davis, who had drawn interest across the league. Calls have continued to come in since for Davis, who would surely net a quality return as an affordable and elite reliever, but Kansas City reportedly won’t move him unless it receives young pitching in return.
Along with Davis, first baseman Eric Hosmer, left-hander Danny Duffy, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and third baseman Mike Moustakas are set to become free agents after next season, meaning general manager Dayton Moore might elect to give the club’s championship-winning core one more shot after injuries helped limit the Royals to 81 wins this year.
Escobar is also entering his final season under Kansas City’s control, and although he’s defensively gifted and speedy, the 29-year-old’s limitations at the plate weigh down his value. Dating back to last season, Escobar leads the Royals in plate appearances (1,344), but that’s not a positive for a player who has hit a meek .259/.293/.335. Nevertheless, with no clear upgrades available in free agency and the 21-year-old Raul Mondesi fresh off a less-than-stellar rookie season, retaining Escobar likely wasn’t a difficult choice for the Royals.