The Royals’ desire to bolster the production from their bullpen begins with a look at internal options.
To that end, they’re bringing back one of their more useful left-handed arms. They agreed to a one-year, $800,000 contract Thursday with Brian Flynn, one of three Royals eligible for arbitration this offseason.
The Royals also announced Thursday that they reached one-year deals with third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn prior to the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Hahn will be paid $800,000 and Cuthbert will make $850,000.
Flynn, 28, posted a 4.04 earned-run average in 75 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2018, alternating between long relief, middle- and late-inning roles. In three seasons with the Royals, he has a 3.44 ERA in 85 appearances.
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In a season-concluding news conference last month, Royals general manager Dayton Moore classified the bullpen as the club’s top priority heading into the winter.
Cuthbert, 26, and Hahn, 29, are coming off injury-shortened seasons.
In spring-training, Royals manager Ned Yost said the team hoped for Cuthbert and two other younger players to see expanded playing time in 2018. Instead, Cuthbert appeared in just 30 games and batted .194 with three homers and seven RBIs in 117 plate appearances.
Cuthbert went on the disabled list because of a lower back strain on May 19, then aggravated the injury in July. He never returned to the Royals and played in a mere six games with Class AAA Omaha.
Hahn, who was acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in January, was placed on the 60-day disabled list in March because of a sprain in the UCL of his right elbow. He returned to make six appearances (6 innings pitched) at three minor-league affiliates before having “repair” surgery on the UCL elbow in August. He could return to action in spring training.