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LHP Jason Vargas (Free Agent), 2B Omar Infante (Free Agent), UT Danny Valencia (Traded from Baltimore), OF Norichika Aoki (Traded from Milwaukee)
2B Chris Getz (Free Agent), RHP Luis Mendoza (Free Agent), 1B Carlos Pena (Free Agent), RHP Ervin Santana (Free Agent), 2B Miguel Tejada (Free Agent), LHP Will Smith (Traded to Milwaukee), OF David Lough (Traded to Baltimore)
The Royals haven't been shy about spending their money in the past. Gil Meche once received $55 million from this team, for crying out loud. But the ways they spend it, like for Meche, often leave a lot to be desired.
This was another strange offseason for the Royals, who clearly see their window opening and wanted to strike but made two major investments that could blow up.
Jason Vargas isn't a bad bargain at $8 million per season. He threw over 200 innings in 2011 and 2012 with Seattle and gave the Angels a decent 4.02 ERA and 1.5 FanGraphs' WAR last season. But four years for a 31-year-old back-end starter is a long commitment.
Of course, the Royals boast an excellent defense, ranking first in defensive runs saved and fifth in out of zone plays made last season, a fact that wasn't lost on Vargas in his introductory press conference, via Dick Kaegel of MLB.com:
I think any pitcher is excited about a really good defense, and three Gold Gloves says a whole lot. So getting a chance to come here and know I have an opportunity to be a part of something for the next four years and a chance to do something special here in Kansas City is the reason why I came.
Omar Infante was the other big addition, taking over at second base where the Royals hit a collective .243/.296/.304 last season. He hit well last season in Detroit (.318/.345/.450), but that fell way out of line with his career mark of .279/.319/.402 and likely won't be duplicated.
The anemic performance of Kansas City's second basemen last season means that even if Infante plays closer to his career mark, he's still a significant upgrade to the lineup.
Even though he's not a star player, Norichika Aoki was a solid addition because of a .355 career on-base percentage that would have been second on last year's Kansas City team, behind Billy Butler (.374).
The only key players the Royals lost were Ervin Santana, who is still a free agent, and reliever Will Smith, who was traded for Aoki. Smith had a solid 2013 season with a 3.24 ERA in 19 games, but the Royals also have six other relievers who averaged at least eight strikeouts per nine innings pitched last season.