The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.
Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.
Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.
Free agent third baseman Trevor Plouffe has reportedly been drawing interest around the league, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Braves and Royals are rumored to have shown interest alongside the Red Sox and Athletics, though no contract talks have emerged as of yet.
Plouffe, 30, was outrighted by the Twins in November after rounding out a seven-year run with the club. He slashed .260/.303/.420 with 12 home runs over 344 PA in 2016, but logged just 84 appearances after missing several months with an intercostal strain, cracked rib and left oblique strain.
Plouffe got lost amid the reshuffling of the infield and outfield when the Twins tried to accommodate Michael Sano last season, but a clean bill of health and a steady gig could see him return to his career-average .727 OPS and 22-homer rate in 2017. While the Red Sox are not thought to have room on their roster or enough space on their payroll for another significant commitment (though previous reports from the Boston Herald mention a potential one-year, $2-3 million deal for the third baseman), Cafardo notes that the Royals could be a good fit for the infielder if they consider trading Mike Moustakas. Like the Royals and Red Sox, the Braves appear to have the hot corner set for 2017, but could sign Plouffe to a short-term contract to complement Adonis Garcia and Rio Ruiz if necessary.
The Royals signed right-hander Brandon League to a minor league deal on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. The 33-year-old is one of 22 non-roster invitees and was picked up along with fellow right-handers Al Alburquerque and Chris Withrow.
Of the three, League has the most obstacles to overcome in order to land a spot on the Royals’ roster this spring. He hasn’t pitched professionally since 2015, when he made 10 appearances for the Dodgers’ High-A and Triple-A affiliates while recovering from shoulder impingement. Prior to 2015, he played three years with the Dodgers at the major league level, sustaining a cumulative 3.55 ERA and 0.1 fWAR over 144 2/3 innings.
In a best-case scenario, League could provide the kind of production value he amassed during his last season with the Dodgers, complete with the career-best 2.57 ERA and 0.0 HR/9 rate. At worst, his age and chronic shoulder problems will force the Royals to turn to another veteran arm. At least for the time being, it looks like they have plenty to choose from.