Opinion

The first pitch: Who do the Royals have under club control beyond 2017?

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and starting pitcher Danny Duffy could be teammates for a long, long time.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and starting pitcher Danny Duffy could be teammates for a long, long time. jsleezer@kcstar.com

For most of this Royals offseason, a familiar narrative has taken root. It goes as follows: The club’s true window to compete is about to close when a massive free-agent exodus takes place following the 2017 season.

Eric Hosmer will be a free agent after 2017. So will Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar. Wade Davis and Jarrod Dyson would have been, too, of course, but they’re gone now, shipped out for Jorge Soler and Nathan Karns, respectively.

It’s possible that the forecast will prove true, of course. The Royals’ resurgence was always built on the collective talent of a (mostly) homegrown core, and general manager Dayton Moore has always been honest about the future: The Royals will attempt to sign as many homegrown players as possible, but won’t be able to sign them all. The roster will take a hit in 2018.

But maybe, after the signing of Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million extension on Monday afternoon, it’s time to consider what the Royals have locked up for 2018 and beyond. It’s a little early, of course. But with Duffy added to the list, here’s a brief accounting of what the Royals have signed beyond 2017.

Catcher Salvador Perez

Contract: Signed through 2021

2017: $4.2 million; 2018: $8.7 million; 2019: $11.2 million; 2020: $14.2 million; 2021: $14.2 million

LHP Danny Duffy

Contract: Signed through 2021

2017: $5 million; 2018: $14 million; 2019: $15.25 million; 2020: $15.25 million; 2021: $15.5 million

RHP Yordano Ventura

Contract: Club control through 2021

2017: $3.45 million; 2018: $6.45 million; 2019: $9.95 million; 2020: $12 million (team option); 2021: $12 million (team option)

RHP Ian Kennedy

Contract: Signed through 2020*

2017: $13.5 million; 2018: $16 million; 2019: $16.5 million; 2020: $16.5 million

*Kennedy can opt out of his contract after 2017

Right fielder Jorge Soler

Contract: Club control through 2020*

2017: $3 million; 2018: $4.66 million; 2019: $4.66 million; 2020: $4.66 million

*Soler can opt out of his contract and into arbitration after 2017

Left fielder Alex Gordon

Contract: Signed through 2019

2017: $16 million; 2018: $20 million; 2019: $20 million; 2020: $23 million (mutual option)

RHP Joakim Soria

Contract: Signed through 2018

2017: $8 million; 2018: $9 million; 2019: $10 million (mutual option; $1 million buyout)

Catcher Drew Butera

Contract: Signed through 2018

2017: $1.5 million; 2018: $2.3 million

RHP Nate Karns

Contract: Club control through 2020

2017: League minimum; 2018: Arbitration eligible; 2019: Arbitration eligible; 2020: Arbitration eligible

RHP Kelvin Herrera

Contract: Club control through 2018

2017: Arbitration eligible; 2018: Arbitration eligible

The short (incomplete) list of additional players under club control through 2020: Cheslor Cuthbert, Raul Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, Paulo Orlando, Billy Burns, Matt Strahm, Josh Staumont, Bubba Starling, Brian Flynn, Hunter Dozier, Kyle Zimmer.

Final thought:

The Royals, like any championship team that attempts to keep its core together, will have to worry about getting too old and too expensive. Think: the Phillies of last decade. But if you squint hard enough, you can imagine a Royals roster in 2019 that includes Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, Ian Kennedy, Nate Karns, Matt Strahm, Raul Mondesi and Cheslor Cuthbert.  

But first, of course, there is still 2017.

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