Joakim Soria ($4 million): Saved 28 games in 60 appearances. By just about any measure, 2011 was the worst year of Soria's career, although that sounds worse than it is.
- Jason Kendall ($3.75 million): Didn't play a game, but led like hell.
- Kyle Davies ($3.2 million): Many were surprised when the Royals brought Davies back, and 2011 showed why.
- Billy Butler ($3 million): Butler's last truly cheap season and likely the best value season of his career, barring a major breakout.
- Jeff Francoeur ($2.5 million): Francoeur's comeback season was a relative bargain for the Royals. Frenchy has received a $3.5 million raise for 2012.
- Bruce Chen ($2 million): Gave the Royals 25 decent starts for $2 million. Like Francoeur and Tony Kornheiser, he's back for more cash in 2012.
- Jeff Francis ($2 million): He endured.
As you can see, the Royals were a very low payroll team in 2011. I really didn't like just about any of the team's free agent/arb-eligible signings last winter, but for these prices (the $2 million dollar group) you really can't complain. Yay! I just voiced the same rationalization of Dayton I've come to hate. According to some figures the Royals had the lowest payroll in the game last season.
Of course, for every surprise bargain, you've got a Kendall sitting there as well. And, don't forget, we would have had Gil Meche sitting at the top of this list north of $11 million, had Gil Meche been a normal person.
The excitement for tomorrow's post on 2012 is unbearable.