The Royals non-tendered pitcher Richard Lovelady but tendered contracts to their seven arbitration-eligible players - catcher Cam Gallagher, infielders Nicky Lopez, Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan O’Hearn, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, and pitchers Scott Barlow and Brad Keller. The 40-man roster now stands at 39.
The decision to let Lovelady go was not too surprising considering he underwent Tommy John surgery this fall and will likely miss most of next year. The 26-year old left-hander pitched in parts of three seasons with the Royals with a 5.62 ERA in 41 2⁄3 innings. He had his best season this year, with a 3.48 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20 2⁄3 innings before his injury. The Royals could still bring him back on a minor league deal.
The biggest surprise was the Royals electing to keep first baseman Ryan O’Hearn. The 28-year old hit .225/.268/.369 with nine home runs in 84 games with the Royals this year, and has hit .215/.294/.401 in 275 games over parts of four seasons. He showed promise his rookie season with 12 home runs in 44 games, but has been unable to show that kind of power since, and has prospect Nick Pratto coming up behind him at first base, with veteran Carlos Santana also at first.
The players that were tendered a contract today have not agreed to contracts and the club can continue to negotiate a one-year or multi-year deal with them. If the two sides are unable to agree, the case will go to through the arbitration process. MLB Trade Rumors has made the following salary projections for the Royals players that were tendered a contract:
- Scott Barlow – $2.4MM
- Andrew Benintendi – $9.3MM
- Cam Gallagher – $900K
- Brad Keller - $5.2MM
- Nicky Lopez – $2.0MM
- Adalberto Mondesi – $3.2MM
- Ryan O’Hearn – $1.4MM
Today was the deadline to tender a contract to arbitration-eligible players. It was originally set for December 2, but was moved up in anticipation of the labor deal expiration date tomorrow. Among the notable non-tenders were Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, Braves reliever Richard Rodriguez, Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl, Mets reliever Robert Gsellman, Padres pitcher Matt Strahm, and Brewers first baseman Dan Vogelbach.