Lorenzo Cain, Royals Agree on New Contract: Latest Comments and Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 18, 2016

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals follows through on a 12th inning three run double against the New York Mets during game five of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field on November 1, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Royals defeated the Mets 7-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals announced Monday that All-Star center fielder Lorenzo Cain will remain with the team on a new two-year contract and avoid arbitration as a result:

Cain was the 2014 American League Championship Series MVP and an integral part of the Royals' World Series-winning team this past season. The 29-year-old batted .307 with 16 home runs and 72 RBI in 2015 and stole 28 bases for the second consecutive year.

MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reported Monday that Cain's two-year deal is worth $17.5 million, with $6.5 million due in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Cain has exceptional range in the outfield and fits what the Royals do best, which is play fundamentally sound, solid defense and blend pop at the plate with speed on the basepaths to thrive on offense.

It was a no-brainer for Kansas City to keep Cain around. Baseball-Reference.com listed his WAR rating at 7.2 for this past year, which ranked fourth in the American League. He was also third in the AL in the site's power-speed metric, another measure that goes to show his unique impact on the game.

Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star alluded to who may well be the team's next personnel priority:

After seeing stud starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, key reliever Ryan Madson and veteran outfielder Ben Zobrist all flee in free agency, it has to be refreshing for the Royals to retain someone of Cain's caliber.

Kansas City previously managed to keep Alex Gordon in the fold this offseason and now doesn't have to worry about losing Cain for a while. Manager Ned Yost's core is mostly intact and should be primed for another deep playoff run in 2016 if his key contributors stay healthy.

But there is really only a two-year window remaining to win more championships with the current group of players. That figures to add to the pressure of expectations as the Royals prepare to guard the Commissioner's Trophy.