12:10pm: Maness can also earn up to $750K worth of incentives, reports MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter).
8:48am: Right-hander Seth Maness has agreed to a minor league contract with the Royals, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter links). Maness will earn $1.25MM if he makes the Major League roster, per Goold. Kansas City was one of at least 16 big league teams to scout the 28-year-old CAA client last week, and Goold reports that the Royals have maintained consistent interest in him this offseason.
Maness, of course, is a fascinating case to watch as he tries to work his way back from an experimental “primary repair” surgery that represents a potential alternative to Tommy John surgery. Maness suffered ligament damage in his elbow last summer and underwent the procedure back in mid-August, and he’s already throwing off a mound. If he’s able to make a full recovery, the seven-and-a-half-month timeline on this newer procedure would be a marked improvement over the 12 to 18 month recovery that is common with Tommy John surgery. Notably, “primary repair” isn’t an option for all players that are diagnosed with torn ulnar collateral ligaments, as the procedure is dependent on both the location and extent of the tear. (Those who’ve yet to read Goold’s excellent look at the surgery from January are highly encouraged to do so.)
Maness was a fixture in the St. Louis bullpen from 2013-16, racking up 237 1/3 innings with a 3.19 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a hefty 59.4 percent ground-ball rate along the way. Last season, he posted a 3.41 ERA with career worst K/9 (4.6) and BB/9 (2.3) rates. Following the August operation, the Cardinals non-tendered Maness, who has three years and 154 days of Major League service. That fairly limited service time means that if he’s able to make a recovery, the Royals will control him through the 2019 season via the arbitration process.