The top of the Royal payroll in 2012 isn't quite as penurious as the 2011 edition. Thanks to Billy Butler, the team even features a player close to earning $10 million. Just think of it. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Royals four highest paid players are all earning more money than ever before. Meanwhile, Eric Hosmer, the most talked about player on the roster -- and possibly the best -- will earn $480,000. Huzza for MLB's weird salary structure.
Here are the highest paid Royals, as of 12/29/11, for the 2012 season:
- Billy Butler ($8 million): 2012 will be Butler's age 26 season. Butler has already played in 692 games and has established himself as a historically relevant figure. Earlier this month, I made the case for trading Butler, which included discussion of his 2012 raise.
- Jeff Francoeur ($6 million): In bringing Francoeur back for 2012-13, the Royals gave the outfielder a sizeable (but manageable raise). Francoeur's 3 win season in 2011 was a pleasant surprise and made the outfielder one of the team's best bargains. Frenchy's $6 million dollar payday in 2012 is a career high. But money won't change him. He'll change it.
- Joakim Soria ($6 million): In 2011, $4 million to Soria made him the highest paid player on the team, but in 2012 he's tied for second with Francoeur. In 2012, Soria will be 28, still comfortably in his prime, but looking to improve on a strangely disappointing 2011.
- Bruce Chen ($4.5 million): Another career-high salary. Chen's strange career - so defined by movement - has seemingly found a solid set of golden years as a Dayton Moore find. Chen has now been in the organization since 2009. By WAR, Chen has been worth ~2 wins the last two seasons.
- Jonathan Broxton ($4 million): Broxton, a completely random signing, made $7 million dollars from the Dodgers last season, thanks to years of racking up saves totals. Was hurt and not very good in 2011.
- Yuniesky Betancourt ($2 million): I think we've all talked about him enough.
Now, the Royals still haven't finalized terms with Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar, who will pass Yuni on this list. Felipe Paulino could come close. I also fully expect at least one free agent signee to join this list before Opening Day.