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Royals agree to long-term contract with Alcides Escobar

Mar 15, 2012, 12:19 PM EDT

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Alcides Escobar and the Royals have agreed to a four-year contract that includes team options for 2016 and 2017, the team announced.

Escobar is just 25 years old and not even eligible for arbitration yet after being acquired from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke trade last offseason, so the four-year contract simply buys out his arbitration seasons and the team options potentially cover his first two years of free agency.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star the contract is worth $10.5 million in guaranteed money and as much as $21.75 million if both option years are exercised.

From the Royals’ point of view it’s certainly a gamble at this point, as Escobar has yet to show he can actually hit big-league pitching. He batted just .254 with a .290 on-base percentage and .343 slugging percentage in 158 games last season, and that .633 OPS was better than he produced for the Brewers in 2010.

He’s certainly capable of more offensively, but Escobar’s lack of power or plate discipline figure to hold him back. Of course, his defense and speed are plenty valuable and the Royals are obviously hoping that he can at least develop into a .275 hitter who isn’t a huge weakness at the bottom of the lineup.

  1. sportsdrenched.com - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    He did improve at the plate during the season last year. Not all that concerned about the money. What I really hope it means is we won’t the Yuni-Bomber at SS on a regular basis.

    • groundruledoublebourbon - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Yeah, the .250 season average looks poor. When you factor in that he was hanging around .200 until August and finished on a two-month tear, some hope is provided for his offensive future. Maybe a corner has been turned?

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Dude played out of his mind in September, maybe that carries over this year?

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    If I remember correctly, the Royals finished something like 4th in offense last year, with Escobar playing 158 games.

    If the all the other young hitters keep getting better, as everyone seems to think they will, I believe it is a reasonable expection to assume Escobar will also.

    However, if he doesn’t, considering his defense and speed, I’m sure the Royals will be able to hide his bat in what is supposed to be a great offensive team.

    Escobar’s lack of punch is a minor issue for the Royals. Let’s stop worrying about him and worry about their pitching staff.

    Also, I believe this was the same line everyone had about Elvis Andrus after his first year, and I don’t hear people worrying too much about it now.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    A nice, cheap, cost-controlled signing for a guy with a good amount of promise.

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