Through the Royals’ offseason signings, newcomers mentioned the team’s postseason run almost as a bonus.
Edinson Volquez, a right-handed starter projected to be inserted into the rotation, stressed the World Series appearance as a primary factor in joining the Royals after a successful season with the Pirates.
“What I saw last year, why not be part of the team?” Volquez said. “I want to be here and help the team win some games and enjoy what they did last year.”
Volquez signed a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2017. He’ll make $7.5 million in 2015 and $9.5 million in 2016. In 2017, the Royals can either pay Volquez a $3 million buyout or extend his contract for $10 million if he wants to remain in Kansas City.
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In a corresponding move, the Royals designated for assignment infielder Ryan Jackson, who was purchased from the Dodgers on Nov. 26.
Volquez, 31, went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA in helping the Pirates to an NL Wild Card Game appearance. He led Pittsburgh in victories, starts (31) and innings (192 2/3) and got the start in the team’s postseason loss to the Giants.
It was a bounce-back year for Volquez, who was 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA for the Padres and Dodgers in 2013 and 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA for San Diego in 2012.
“I was very aggressive attacking the hitter and getting ahead in the count,” Volquez said. “I controlled my emotions a little more and stayed focused more.”
Volquez’s best season came in 2008 with the Reds, when he posted a 17-6 record with a 3.21 ERA and earned a spot on the National League All-Star team.
His 10-year career started with the Rangers in 2005, and Volquez has a 66-59 record and 4.44 ERA for his career.
He figures to join a 2015 rotation that will include Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie.
Volquez is the second starting pitcher signed by the Royals in December. Earlier, Kris Medlen signed a two-year deal with a mutual option for a third.
But Medlen, 29, who missed last season recovering from a second Tommy John surgery, isn’t expected to start the year with the club. He’s been labeled as a “second half” of the season guy, said Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
The Royals’ free-agent shopping appears to be over. The team identified three major needs — a starting pitcher, right fielder and designated hitter (after expecting to lose James Shields, Nori Aoki and Billy Butler) — and have filled them all.
Alex Rios is expected to become the Royals’ starting right fielder, and Kendrys Morales the designated hitter.
Volquez completes the picture, and more than the others, seemed to be influenced by the team’s surprising October.
“What I saw last year was unbelievable,” Volquez said. “It’s a dream come true … and I want to take a chance, be part of the team and do it again.”