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Royals sign Lucas Duda to a minor league deal

This was not the old friend I expected to return.

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals Photoby Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Royals announced they have signed first baseman Lucas Duda to a minor league deal. Duda had been in camp with the Minnesota Twins but opted out of his contract when he was told he would not be on the Opening Day roster. In 13 spring training games, Duda hit .258/.395/.355 with three doubles and seven walks. The 33-year old was signed by the Royals to a one-year deal last year and hit .242/.310/.413 with 13 home runs in 87 games before he was sold to the Atlanta Braves.

The signing is a curious one since the Royals are in a rebuild and should be looking for young players to add to the roster. First base already seems covered with Ryan O’Hearn likely to start with Hunter Dozier filling in against tough lefties. Frank Schwindel is a candidate to make the roster as a right-handed bat that can play first and DH. But perhaps the Royals wanted a more veteran bat to DH, with the expectation that Jorge Soler will play right field most of the time.

It is a minor league deal, so Duda could simply be playing first base for Omaha, and perhaps this is an indication that Frank Schwindel won’t be in Omaha, but in Kansas City instead. But with Duda, Alcides Escobar, and Drew Butera all getting released this week, this is not the reunion I would have expected.

The Royals also announced they have optioned catcher Meibrys Viloria to AA Northwest Arkansas. Viloria was considered a candidate to make the team when Salvador Perez got hurt, but the Martin Maldonado signing put an end to that discussion.