Royals sign versatile Chris Owings to one-year deal

Chris Owings has joined the Royals on a one-year contract.
Chris Owings has joined the Royals on a one-year contract. AP photo

The Royals have added a position player to their major-league roster for the first time this offseason.

And he plays nearly all of them.

The Royals signed Chris Owings to a one-year contract Wednesday, the team announced. Owings, 27, has seen considerable time in both the infield and outfield over his six-year career with the Diamondbacks, the club that drafted him out of high school with the No. 41 overall pick in 2009.

Owings signed for $3 million, according to The Associated Press, and can earn an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $50,000 each for 325 and each additional 25 through 500, and $100,000 for 550.

His career splits are .250/.291/.378. He endured a career-worst .206 average in 2018, hitting four home runs in 281 at-bats. He has reached double digits in stolen bases in four straight seasons, one of 26 players in the majors to achieve that qualification. His career-best season came in 2016, when he hit .277 with 40 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases. He led the league with 11 triples that season.

Versatility is one of his biggest attributes. Owings has played at least 60 career games at shortstop, second base, right field and center field, and he played 15 games at third base last season. In 2018 alone, he made at least three starts at all five positions.

Among serving other roles, he figures to be the most obvious backup to Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi. Owings has made 233 career starts at shortstop, more than any other place on the diamond, and now more than any other player on the Royals’ roster.

With the addition of Owings, the Royals’ 40-man roster has three open spots.

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