Less than 24 hours after their World Series parade, MLB free agency has begun.
The KC Royals declined their mutual option on right fielder Alex Rios and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, making both free agents. Neither decisions by the team came as a surprise. Rios was the longest active player to have not reached the postseason prior to this year and now he is a champion. Rios is expected to get a one year, $6 million contract for next season (according to FanGraphs).
Will the 36 year old Guthrie retire and go out on top (though he was not on the Royals roster for the playoffs)? He had a $3.2 million buyout and FanGraphs expects him to get a one year deal worth $4 million on the open market.
Left fielder Alex Gordon declined his player option and became a free agent. It did not come as a surprise, but now fans will be holding their breath for the face of the franchise to re-sign. FanGraphs estimates that Gordon will receive a five year, $90 million contract. Will that contract come from the only team he has ever known? We will see.
The Royals had six more players hit free agency, to go along with minor league free agents Yohan Pino and Joba Chamberlain. Those six are Ben Zobrist, Johnny Cueto, Jonny Gomes, and Ryan Madson, Chris Young, and Franklin Morales (who the Royals took off the scrap heap over the offseason and had them be intregal parts of the team).
FanGraphs expects Cueto to receive a six year, $132 million contract. FanGraphs only ranks Zobrist as the 20th best free agent, with them expecting him to receive a three year, $42 million contract over the winter. I think they are low-balling him. Zobrist could bring in a lot more, given his versatility and switch-hitting abilities.
Young is expected to sign a one year, $6 million contract. Madson, if he does not retire, is expected to get a one year deal worth $5 million.
Former CY Young award winner and Royals ace Zack Greinke opted out of his contract with the LA Dodgers and became a free agent. Will there be a reunion? Well, FanGraphs estimates that Greinke will receive a six year, $156 million contract. Probably out of the Royals range, right?
Speaking of Guthrie, he joined teammates Mike Moustakas and Drew Butera in settling Royals fan Eric Stonestreet’s (of Modern Family) World Series bet with late night host Jimmy Kimmel (who is a Mets fan).
Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez also hit the late night circuit, as they appeared on Jimmy Fallon at the exact same time: