Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s perfect record is intact — he has never had a case go to arbitration since he joined the Royals.
That trend continued Friday as the Royals agreed to a one-year contract with presumptive closer Kelvin Herrera. In addition to Herrera’s $5.325 million salary this season, he will earn $50,000 for making the All-Star Game. Herrera was an All-Star in 2015 and 2016.
Herrera’s salary is the midpoint of what he asked for and the Royals offered when arbitration numbers were exchanged. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal.
Shortly after the deal was announced, Herrera shared a statement on Twitter.
“The team and I have agreed to a settlement at the mid-point today,” Herrera tweeted. “Even though the team had a ‘File & Trial’ policy and both sides were ready to go to a hearing, we have realized this is a time for us to be united as a family and put our differences aside.
“Thank you Royals fans for your support.”
According to MLB.com, file and trial clubs “approach the arbitration figure exchange date as a hard deadline; if the club and player are unable to avoid arbitration prior to exchanging salary figures, the club no longer negotiates on one-year deals with that player. Typically, ‘file and trial’ clubs will still be open to discussing multi-year contracts in the weeks between exchanging figures and heading to an arbitration hearing, however.”
Players and teams exchanged arbitration figures on Jan. 13, with the Royals offering $5.05 million and Herrera asking for $5.6 million. Three days later, they reached a long-term deal with pitcher Danny Duffy. Before that, the Royals agreed to a one-year contract with first baseman Eric Hosmer.
They were the only three Royals players who were arbitration-eligible.
Herrera’s remarks are interesting, because as noted, Moore has never had an arbitration case go to trial since he arrived in Kansas City in 2006. The closest he came was in 2015 when Hosmer was hours away from leaving for Florida when a two-year deal was reached.
Last February, the Royals signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a two-year contract after the Royals had exchanged arbitration figures with him and other players.
Perhaps Herrera’s tweet indicates he hoped for a multi-year contract with the Royals.
As it stands, Herrera is poised to take over the closer’s role after the Royals traded Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler in December. Herrera, who was paid $2.55 million in 2016, won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season.
However, if he flourishes as the Royals’ closer this season, Herrera should be in line for a big raise next winter. It’s possible that he craved a bit more financial security.
Herrera, 27, was 2-6 with a 2.75 ERA last season with 12 saves. He had career-bests with a 0.96 WHIP (walks and hits per nine innings) and a 2.47 FIP (fielding independent pitching), while piling up 86 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched.
The Star’s Rustin Dodd contributed to this story