The Royals took a second cost-cutting step last night and added a pair of controllable right-handers, acquiring Jesse Hahn and minor leaguer Heath Fillmyer from the Athletics in a trade that sent lefty Ryan Buchter, first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss and a reported $3.25MM in salary relief to help cover some of Moss’ contract. It’s the second cost-cutting measure of the winter for the rebuilding Royals, who’ve also traded Joakim Soria and controllable lefty Scott Alexander in a three-team deal with the White Sox and Dodgers.
Here’s the latest out of Kansas City in the wake of last night’s deal…
- “The economic part of it is very real to us,” GM Dayton Moore tells Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Dodd notes that the cost savings could be put toward a contract to bring Eric Hosmer back to Kansas City — a notion to which the Royals are reportedly very open in spite of their rebuilding initiatives. The Royals, according to Dodd, hope to open the season with a payroll in the $105-110MM range. That’s a tall order, considering they’re still still projected for a $113.7MM payroll even after shedding some of the Moss contract. Dodd notes that further salary-cutting trades could be on the horizon, though Moore stressed that no such move was close. (Nor, the GM said, is a free-agent signing.) The Royals could still jettison Jason Hammel’s remaining $9MM salary (plus a $2MM option buyout) or market Kelvin Herrera and his $7.9375MM contract for the 2018 season.
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Royals’ offer to Hosmer is believed to already be larger than the one made by the Padres, and freeing up some cash in the Moss trade only further benefits the Royals’ chances. The Padres would consider “tweaking” their offer if negotiations came down to a slim margin, he adds, but to date the Friars haven’t shown much of a willingness to substantially increase their bid.
- With Hahn out of minor league options, he’ll compete for a rotation job this coming spring, Moore told Dodd (in the previously-linked column). The righty has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, but he showed plenty of promise in 2014-15 with the Padres and A’s. He’ll vie for a rotation spot alongside Wily Peralta and Nate Karns (returning from TOS surgery). Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy are locked into spots, of course, while Hammel (if he’s not traded) and Jake Junis figure to lock down spots as well. Fillmyer and Oaks are also on the 40-man roster, with other 40-man options including Sam Gaviglio, Eric Skoglund, Scott Barlow and Miguel Almonte.
- Alcides Escobar said yesterday after his one-year deal was announced that he had offers from other clubs but jumped at the chance to return to the Royals (link via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). “I’ve been here for seven years, and I feel like I belong here in Kansas City,” said Escobar. “I got some offers outside. For me, I came back because I think it’s better here, that’s why I’m coming back.” Moore was noncommittal when it came to what the Escobar signing meant for young Raul Mondesi Jr., though he suggested that it might be tough for Mondesi to get everyday at-bats in the Majors. Mondesi is still in the team’s plans, though, the GM added, noting that he could play second base and is “good enough to play center field” as well.