The Royals made it official Monday, announcing the signing of outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a two-year contract, avoiding arbitration.
The contract is worth $17.5 million with Cain earning $6.5 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. He will be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.
Under general manager Dayton Moore, the Royals have never had an arbitration case to go a hearing. The signing of Cain leaves one unsigned player who filed for arbitration, third baseman Mike Moustakas. He asked for $7 million, the Royals countered at $4.2 million. The sides can reach a settlement before hearings in February.
Cain is coming off a season in which he hit .307 with 16 home runs and 72 RBIs. He made his first All-Star team and finished third in the AL MVP voting. He is considered one of the best defensive players in the game.
Cain, who will turn 30 in April, scored 101 runs, becoming the first Royals player to top 100 since 2011. He ranked second in the AL in stolen bases with 26 and led the league in batting average with two outs at .372.
For the second straight year, Cain had a solid postseason. He started all 16 games, hit .258, and when he started this postseason with at least one hit in the first nine games, Cain extended his playoff hitting streak to 13 games.
Cain’s playoff highlight came in AL pennant clinching Game 6 victory over the Blue Jays, when he scored from first base on Eric Hosmer’s single.
The signing comes two weeks after the Royals signed left fielder Alex Gordon to a four-year, $72 million contract.