The Royals and right-hander Kelvin Herrera have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.325MM, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). That figure falls directly in between the $5.6MM for which Herrera filed and the $5.05MM figure at which the team countered, as shown in MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker. Herrera’s ultimate payday will fall nicely in line with the $5.3MM which MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected him to earn.
The 27-year-old Herrera was in his third year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player and will be eligible once more next winter before reaching free agency upon completion of the 2018 campaign. He’d previously avoided his first two arbitration hearing by agreeing to a two-year, $4.15MM contract prior to the 2015 season.
Armed with a blazing fastball that averaged 97.1 mph in 2016 (and 98.1 mph from 2014-15) as well as an excellent changeup which sits around 89 mph, Herrera will now look to anchor a Kansas City bullpen in which he’s previously functioned as a setup man to Wade Davis (and Greg Holland before him). Herrera saw his first extended stint as the Kansas City closer last year when Davis was injured, and he’s now the favorite to inherit the ninth inning following Davis’ trade to the Cubs (which netted the Royals Jorge Soler). Herrera’s resume certainly looks like that of a closer, as he’s pitched to a pristine 2.30 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 46.1 percent ground-ball rate across the past three seasons.