The Kansas City Royals announced that the club has reached an agreement on a multi-year contract with Alcides Escobar. The contract starts with four guaranteed years through the 2015 season, then club options for the following two seasons: 2016 and 2017. The contract is designed to pay him $1 million this year and $3 million in each of the years 2013-14-15. The club options are for $5.25 million in 2016 with a $500,000 buyout and $6.5 million in 2017 with a $500,000 buyout.
The 25-year-old Escobar had his first season with the Royals in 2011 after being obtained in a six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. The defensive standout tied for the Major League lead with playing in 158 games at shortstop with 459 assists and 271 putouts. The defensive minded Escobar had a .254 batting average with 21 doubles, 8 triples, 4 home runs. In addition, he set his career-best 26 stolen bases, becoming the fourth shortstop in Royals history to steal 20+ bases in a season. He started extremely slow with the bat last year but turned his fate over in the later half. Escobar hit .286 from June 7 through the remainder of the season. Escobar has worked extremely hard this offseason to improve on his average. He will never hit .300 but if the average can get around .280 he and the Royals will be thrilled. When watching Escobar, one can not love how he carries himself. He displays knowledge and love for the game with his glove and determination with his bat. One great aspect to the signing of Escobar is that he has proven his durability.
Now that Escobar has been inked for the future, the Royals currently turn their attention to the injury of newly signed Salvador Perez. Perez partially tore his meniscus. He is expected to be out for 12-14 weeks. He may be held out until the All-Star Break. This injury brings cringes to any former catcher because they realize how important a catchers knees are. The Royals will be slow with pushing the return of Perez. Expect to see Brayan Pena more then planned to give Perez’s knees a break throughout the season. Furthermore, Dayton Moore has been looking around through free agency for a catcher. A possible candidate is Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. Pudge hit only .218 with 2 home runs. Another possible but unlikely option would be Jason Varitek What he does bring is excellent leadership and tremendous defense. There are other options to fill Perez’s shoes but for now Pena is the answer.
While fans want Eric Hosmer to be the next Royals signed to a long-term deal, I expect Alex Gordon to be next on the list because of the numbers he managed to put up last year. The two sides have tried to find a suitable contract this past offseason but were unable to meet each others wants.