The Royals have re-signed right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn to a one-year, Major League contract worth $600,000 with $200,000 in performance bonuses, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. Hahn was non-tendered back on December 2, and was projected to earn $900,000 through the arbitration process according to MLB Trade Rumors. Hahn would still not be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.
The 30-year old Hahn has missed most of the last two seasons, suffering an ulnar collateral ligament injury shortly after the Royals acquired him before the 2018 season. He did return in September of this season to appear in six games, giving up seven runs in 4 2⁄3 innings.
Hahn got off to a promising start in his career, with a 3.07 ERA in 73 1⁄3 innings in 2014 with the Padres. He was dealt to the Athletics the next season and has battled injuries much of the last five years. Oakland traded him in Janaury of 2018 to Kansas City along with pitcher Heath Fillmyer in exchange for pitcher Ryan Buchter, designated hitter Brandon Moss, and cash. In 290 2⁄3 Major League innings, Hahn has a 4.33 ERA with 6.8 strikeouts-per-nine innings.
Hahn could be a candidate for the rotation, if nothing more than a placeholder until prospects like Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar are ready for the big leagues. But with his injury history, the Royals may move him to the pen. Hahn did see his velocity go up in his short stint out of the pen with the Royals last September, and he could improve upon his underwhelming strikeout numbers as a reliever.