According to current Kansas City Royals arbitration estimates, two key Royals are due big pay raises in the following months. First baseman Eric Hosmer and closer Greg Holland both reach arbitration eligibility in 2014. Other Royals, including reliever Luke Hochevar, infielder Emilio Bonifacio and veteran pitcher Felipe Paulino are all owed more marginal raises as well.
Hosmer earned Super-2 status this year, which means the young first baseman is in the top 22 percent of total service among players between their second and third year of MLB starting time. This qualification grants Hosmer an extra year of arbitration. He will be due to earn a raise to $4.1 million from $528,250.
Holland, after a franchise-best season at his position that was capped with an All-Star selection, will earn the biggest raise of anyone on the Royals roster. After earning just $539,000 in 2013, his salary will increase to $4.9 million next year.
This is an important budgetary factor for a team that will struggle to re-sign cornerstone pitching like Ervin Santana, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. Those concerns are serious enough for KC, not to mention their need for a power upgrade. Hosmer and Holland are sure things for being re-signed, but these arbitration rules could make things dramatic with other, less valuable players in years to come.
Those two players alone are projected to take over $7.9 million more from an already-limited payroll than they took the previous season.
The Royals’ total payroll for 2013 was just over $89 million, and GM Dayton Moore has been straightforward with the media in announcing that payroll will stay roughly the same in 2014. Fans may have been taken off guard by these raises, but let’s just hope Moore and others within the organization were well prepared to deal with them.