Perhaps the Royals and Danny Duffy thought Kansas City sports fans could use some good news.
The team announced a $65-million, five-year contract with the popular left-hander on Monday, ensuring he will remain with the Royals through the 2021 season. Duffy was eligible for arbitration and could have become a free agent after the upcoming season.
Instead, he will earn $5 million this year before a bump to $14 million in 2018. He will make $15.25 million each in 2019 and 2020 and $15.5 million in the final year of the deal.
“Danny has been great. He has one of the best arms in all of baseball,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said earlier this off-season. “The fact that he’s left-handed makes him more special and separates him even more. He’s the kind of pitcher we all envision.”
The 27-year-old left-hander emerged from the bullpen to set career highs in wins, starts and innings pitched while going 12-3 last year. Kansas City was 17-9 in his 26 starts.
Duffy and Moore are expected to attend a news conference Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
The contract was announced the day after the Chiefs, whose Arrowhead Stadium sits a few hundred yards from Kauffman Stadium in the same sports complex, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.
Outfielder Michael Saunders and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed on a $9-million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday because the Phillies had not announced the agreement. Saunders’ deal was first reported by MLB.com. MLB Network reported Saunders has an option for 2018 worth $11 million with escalators that can make it reach $14 million, and the deal includes a $1-million buyout. A 2016 AL All-Star with Toronto, Saunders hit a career-best 24 homers and batted .253 with 57 RBIs last season. …
Outfielder Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays are “working really hard” to bring him back to the club, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing. The sides are discussing one-, two- and three-year agreements. The 36-year-old Bautista, who hit 22 homers with 69 RBIs last year while batting .234 in an injury-slowed season, did not accept a $17.2-million qualifying offer.