Eric Hosmer is on his way to San Diego and left a big hole at first base for the Royals. Kansas City was in on Hosmer the entire way before the 8-year deal won out sending him to the Friars. The Royals have officially found their replacement signing former Mets first baseman Lucas Duda. This signing allows the Royals to stay relatively competitive by not tanking like some of the other teams in baseball.
Robert Murray of Fan Rag Sports was the first to report the news:
Sources: #Royals in agreement on deal with Lucas Duda.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 28, 2018
Duda will earn $3.5 million over the course of the one-year deal with the Royals. He can earn an additional $1.3 million in incentives. He will need 600 plate appearances on the season to reach that benchmark. For a player that has struggled with injuries, it is an interesting wrinkle in the contract. Considering Duda will earn more than $100 million less than Hosmer, it seems like a pretty reasonable deal for the Royals.
Duda isn’t the fielder that Hosmer is but the Padres really paid for defense more than anything that separates to two players. Duda did have that errant throw in the 2015 World Series that allowed Hosmer to score interestingly enough. The last 5 years, Hosmer recorded a 115 OPS-plus while the former Mets slugger was actually higher with Duda at 123 OPS-plus. By the way, Hosmer signed for $144 million. Great job Kansas City. Now it remains to be seen if Mike Moustakas returns.
Duda was part of a big first base free agent class that also included Mitch Moreland, Carlos Santana, and Logan Morrison. Duda was actually dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline which seems weird because the Rays have since blown up the roster this offseason.