The Royals have signed pitcher Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million deal according to Jeff Passan. The club has confirmed the deal. Duffy had filed for arbitration last week and would have been eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. The new contract will take him through his age-32 season in 2021.
According to Jeffrey Flanagan, the deal is backloaded, with the Royals paying Duffy just $5 million in 2017, giving them more financial flexibility. Duffy had filed for a salary of $8 million this year through the arbitration process. His salary escalates considerably next year, paying him $14-15 million per year over the next four seasons.
Duffy contract: 2017 - $5.0m— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) January 16, 2017
2018 - $14.0m
2019 - $15.25m
2020 - $15.25m
2021 - $15.5m
The left-hander is coming off a breakout season in 2016 in which he posted a 12-3 record with a 3.51 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, with career highs in innings pitched, strikeouts, and fWAR. Duffy has spent his entire six-year career with the Royals after they selected him in the third round of the 2007 draft. He has a career 3.71 ERA with the club, but has been inconsistent much of his career, and he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Still, with the lack of starting pitching depth and the breakout performance, it seemed like a wise move to lock Duffy up to a long-term deal, especially since he has expressed his desire to stay in Kansas City several times. Duffy joins Yordano Ventura, Nate Karns, and Ian Kennedy as starting pitchers signed with the Royals through 2020, although Kennedy can opt out of his deal after the year if he wishes.