Fresh off the finest season of his career, Kelvin Herrera struck an agreement with the Royals for a two-year, $4.15 million contract that provides the player with a modicum of financial security and provides the club with a sensible salary for a dynamic reliever.
By striking the pact, the Royals avoided arbitration with Herrera and reduced their slate of unsigned arbitration-eligible players to the duo of closer Greg Holland and first baseman Eric Hosmer. The club could announce a settlement with Holland as early as Friday. Dayton Moore has yet to bring a case before an arbitrator in his tenure as Royals general manager.
Herrera, a 25-year-old right-hander, starred as a seventh-inning specialist in 2014: He posted a 1.41 ERA overall, a 0.58 ERA in the second half and a 1.80 ERA in October. He will earn $1.6 million in 2015 and $2.55 million in 2016. The contract includes up to $250,000 in performance bonuses.
Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Herrera, who made $522,250 last season, requested a $1.9 million salary for 2015; the Royals countered with $1.15 million.
Herrera qualified as a Super-2 candidate. The Royals control his rights through 2018. He can re-enter the arbitration process before 2017.
By then, Herrera could have graduated to an even more prominent role in the club’s bullpen. Holland could become a free agent after next season. The organization holds team options on Wade Davis for 2016 and 2017.
Herrera is four years younger than both Davis and Holland. He showed encouraging signs of growth in 2014 as he bounced back from a homer-prone struggle in 2013. He did not yield a single home run last season.