On Hochevar signing day the Royals open up a four-game series with the Twins at the K. The Royals have had some success against the Twins this season, battling them to a 4-4 standoff through the first 8 games. By comparison, the Royals are 1-11 against the Tigers and 4-8 against the ChiSox.
We'll take our relevance where we can get it.
Baseball Digest Daily notes that Hochevar is only the fourth No. 1 overall pick in the last 20 years to sign a major league contract. The other three? Delmon Young, Pat Burrell and Alex Rodriguez.
As for the increasingly confusion contract-implications long term, today at BP Joe Sheehan said this:
Joe Sheehan: He has to go on the 40-man roster, be protected from the Rule 5, and use up options when he goes back to the minors (an argument for not signing him until after the season, I'd add). Service time for free agency and arbitration is based on time on the 25-man roster, so no, he can't be a free agent anytime soon.
This coincides with what "tfn" said earlier today in the comments today.
The major league contract does not affect the period of time he will be "controlled" by the Royals. Service time is "major league service time" -- that's just what it says, and it accrues when he is up in KC and not otherwise. He will not be free-agent elibgible until he has 6 years of major league service time. His arbitration eligibility will arrive on the usual schedule as regards service time. What starts running out right away is his option years; because he is on the 40 man roster from the date he signs a major league contract, his option years start to be used up immediately. Which means he has to be on the 25 man roster beginning in 2009 at the latest, and after that can't be optioned back to the minors after that without going through waivers. He can be moved freely back and forth majors to minors in 2006, 2007 and 2008. And he will be displacing somone else from the 40 man immediately, not that the Royals currently have 40 guys who deserve a spot anyway. At least, maybe.
Point being, I was wrong about his service time and arb clock starting right now.
Tonight's game feature start #2 from Jorge de la Rosa (1-0, 3.00 ERA) in a Royals uniform. Getting one good start from someone traded for Tony Graffanino was a bonus, getting two or more would be miraculous.
Brad Radke (9-8, 4.91 ERA) makes his 32nd career start against the Royals tonight. In 193.2 innings against the Royals, Radke has a career ERA of 4.28, his best mark against any AL Central team.