1:03pm: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that Duda’s deal with the Royals carries a $1.25MM base salary and another $250K available via incentives.
12:44pm: The Royals announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran first baseman Lucas Duda and requested unconditional release waivers on outfielder Brian Goodwin. Duda will make the Kansas City Opening Day roster, while the out-of-options Goodwin, who’d previously been viewed as a strong candidate to log ample time in right field this coming season, will become a free agent if and when he clears release waivers in 48 hours.
Duda, 33, spent most of the spring with the division-rival Twins but opted out of his minor league pact with Minnesota last week when it became clear that he wouldn’t make the club as a bench bat. He’ll now open his second consecutive season with the Royals, who signed Duda to a one-year, $3.5MM contract in the 2017-18 offseason. Duda spent the first five months of last season with the Royals and hit .242/.310/.413 before being acquired by the Braves in exchange for cash on Aug. 29. Thus far in Spring Training, he’s posted a .250/.386/.417 slash through 44 PAs between Minnesota and Kansas City.
The Royals haven’t commented on what role Duda will play with the club, but the presence of a younger player with a similar skill set, Ryan O’Hearn, makes it seem likely that Duda will start the season as either a bench bat, joining Cam Gallagher, Terrance Gore and Chris Owings, or as a part-time designated hitter.
Spring Training was a disaster for the 28-year-old Goodwin, whom the Royals acquired in a trade with the Nationals last July. Goodwin appeared in 17 games for the Royals and took 49 plate appearances but slashed .166/.188/.256 with 13 strikeouts against four walks. His .266/.317/.415 output in 101 plate appearances with Kansas City last season gave the Royals a bit of cause for intrigue, but they’ll now entrust right field to a combination of Soler, Owings and Gore early in the season. It’s possible that they’ll try to bring Goodwin back on a minor league contract, though he’ll also have the opportunity to field interest from other clubs once his waiver period expires.