The first baseman market has pretty much worked itself out with Eric Hosmer landing in San Diego, Logan Morrison signing with Minnesota, and the Royals landing Lucas Duda on a one-year deal on Wednesday. The musical chairs left many Royals fans scratching their heads. Perhaps missing out on Hosmer was understandable, given the $144 million contract he received.
But with Morrison getting just $6.5 million guaranteed from the Twins, compared to $3.5 million for Duda, many Royals fans are wondering why the club didn’t sign Morrison, the local kid who attended school at Blue Valley West. After all, Morrison said playing for his hometown Royals would be “a dream come true.” Why didn’t the Royals bring in the slugger who smacked 38 home runs last year in favor of Duda, who was on the wrong side of one of the greatest post-season moments in Royals history?
Well it turns out that the Royals did make an offer to Morrison. According to Twins beat writer Mike Beradino, Morrison confirmed the Royals did offer him a deal, but that he instructed his agent to work out a deal with the Twins because they were much closer to contention. Morrison seemed to suggest his off-season hunt for a team was a frustrating experience, and refuted a report he turned down a two-year, $20 million deal from the Indians.
Other clubs pursued him, but Morrison, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, didn’t like the tenor of those talks.
“Definitely had some ties to other places but it wasn’t an open and honest negotiation, so that was one negative,” he said.
Morrison will earn just $5.5 million in 2018, but he has a $8 million club option for 2019 that will become a $9.5 million vesting option if he reached 600 plate appearances. He also has a $1 million buyout in 2019 if he fails to reach that mark and his club option is declined.
You can understand why he would have preferred to sign with the Twins, and the signing of Lucas Duda makes a bit more sense. Eric Hosmer was Plan A, Logan Morrison was Plan B, and Lucas Duda was probably Plan C. It is not an ideal situation, but Duda’s numbers aren’t too far from Morrison and Hosmer the last few seasons. However Royals fans may have to get used to free agents bypassing Kansas City as they go through the rebuild, as players may prefer clubs closer to contention.