After missing out on signing Tim Hudson or Josh Johnson, the Kansas City Royals still managed to improve their rotation today without breaking the bank. 30-year old left-hander Jason Vargas is to sign a four-year, $32 million contract with the team, and a 4p.m. CT press conference will announce it to Royals Kingdom today. What does this mean for the team, and what does it mean for the team’s budget?
My initial feeling for this signing is hopeful optimism. This is a smart pick-up that keeps the rotation competitive and leaves money to spend in David Glass‘ pocket. Four years is a long contract for a 30-year old, but Vargas will pitch to contact with stellar defense behind him. Vargas pitched 150 innings for the Los Angeles Angels last year and recorded more than 200 in both of the two previous seasons. He recorded a 4.02 ERA in 2013 with 109 strikeouts and 46 walks. With an improved defense and Salvador Perez‘s game-calling skills, Vargas should reduce his ERA with the Royals in 2014.
This signing will be remembered fondly if it means KC saved enough money to sign a legitimate bat, as well (please come home, Carlos Beltran). This news means Ervin Santana is all but gone, which isn’t uplifting, but this is considerably more comforting than starting the year with Phil Hughes or similar talent in that rotation spot. For now fans will just have to wait and see how the Royals spend their money to decide whether or not this move was conducive to the long-term plan.