Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain isn’t looking forward to hitting free agency after the 2017 season. Comments made to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan suggest that he’d rather sign another extension with the club, preferably one that will keep him in Kansas City on a long-term basis.
While the Royals have prioritized negotiations with infielders Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer this offseason, no long-term arrangement appears to be on the table for Cain just yet. By this time last year, the outfielder had already netted a two-year extension with the team, albeit under wildly different circumstances. The Royals were fresh off of a World Series championship and a career-best year from Cain, who amassed a team-leading 6.4 fWAR during the regular season.
In 2016, the 30-year-old saw a significant dip in his production value after sustaining a wrist sprain that kept him sidelined through most of the second half of the season. He batted .287/.339/.408 with nine home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 434 PA, well down from the marks that earned him an All-Star nomination and MVP bid the year before.
One lackluster year shouldn’t sour the team’s opinion of their star center fielder, however, especially given Cain’s relative health and steady value over the past six seasons. Although he claims to have worked his way back up to full strength this spring, the team doesn’t appear in any rush to make a commitment past the 2017 season, and time is running out to negotiate a deal before Opening Day.