November 13: Clarke will make $1.25MM in 2024, per Anne Rogers of MLB.com, a slight bump over the $1.15MM he made in 2023.
November 11: The Royals and right-hander Taylor Clarke have agreed to a contract for the 2024 season, the team announced, and thus the two sides will be able to avoid an arbitration hearing. Terms of the deal weren’t revealed, but MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected Clarke would earn $2.2MM in the second of three trips through the arb process.
The Diamondbacks non-tendered Clarke during the 2021-22 offseason, and he caught on with the Royals on a guaranteed deal for the 2022 campaign worth $975K. After delivering a solid 4.04 ERA over 49 relief innings for Kansas City in 2022, Clarke took a step backwards this past season, posting a 5.95 ERA over 59 frames. Clarke saw both his walk and home run rates increase substantially from 2022 to 2023, though his BABIP also shot upwards from .314 in 2022 to .364 last season.
With this dropoff in mind, Clarke was seen as a possible non-tender candidate again this winter, but K.C. has opted to keep him in the fold. Despite Clarke’s struggles, he isn’t terribly expensive, and the Royals could be betting on improved batted-ball luck, if nothing else. Clarke also had one of baseball’s best chase rates, even if his 24.4% strikeout rate was only slightly above the league average.
November 17 is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, so the Royals now have six remaining arb-eligible players to consider over the next six days. The list was initially eight players, but Clarke has now signed, and Taylor Hearn was outrighted off the 40-man roster in October, and Hearn then elected free agency.