There will be no salary arbitration hearings this year for the Kansas City Royals. By signing Luke Hochevar to a one-year contract this week they have avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.
The retention of Hochevar is a good move for the Royals, his career numbers notwithstanding. He is a talented pitcher and although he has never managed to put all the pieces together, there is still time for him to do so. But perhaps more than that right now he provides a bit of incentive to the other pitches fighting for the last rotation spot. They will know that an on-song Hochevar will be in the rotation and therefore they will have good cause to be and stay at their best if they wish to pitch on a regular basis.
That is for only this year though and the question of Hochevar’s long-term future is still a very interesting one. The Royals will be loathe to part so cheaply with such a talented player and a former number one overall draft pick. But Hochevar does need to show some consistent form pretty quickly to make him worth holding on to. The Royals have very good pitching now for the next couple of years, but behind that they do have some excellent youngsters like Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy. It may not be long until Hochevar has essentially no chance of being in the rotation.
It would be disappointing if the Royals had to part ways with Hochevar and it is good that they have not done so yet. But it is time that he showed his skill on a consistent basis and this year might be his last chance.