Edinson Volquez to Royals: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 17, 2014

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In an effort to build their starting rotation in the event James Shields doesn't return, the Kansas City Royals have reportedly agreed to terms on a contract with Edinson Volquez.     

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Volquez's pact with the Royals is for $20 million over two years:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

royals and volquez in agreement, $20, 2 yrs.

The Royals would eventually confirm the deal on December 29:

Kansas City Royals @Royals

#Royals officially sign RHP Edinson Volquez to a 2-year free agent contract with a mutual option for 2017.

Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star shared the breakdown of the contract:

Blair Kerkhoff @BlairKerkhoff

Terms of Volquez deal w/ #Royals: 2015: $7.5 mil, '16: $9.5 mil, "17: $10 mil mutual option or $3 mil buyout.

While Volquez did have a strong 3.04 ERA with Pittsburgh last season, there are reasons the Royals should be concerned that it won't happen again. The 31-year-old has always been erratic with his control, which didn't stop last year; he posted 71 walks and tied for the National League lead with 15 wild pitches in 192.2 innings. 

Volquez's fielding independent ERA, per Baseball-Reference.com, last season was 4.15. According to Beyond the Box Score, that FIP mark was 16 percent worse than the NL average in 2014:

Beyond the Box Score @BtBScore

By ERA-, Edinson Volquez was 14% better than the average MLB pitcher in 2014. By FIP-, he was 16% worse. #Royals

The good news is Volquez is going to a situation where he can get away with more mistakes. As fans saw in the postseason, Kansas City's defense is outstanding. The metrics support that, per FanGraphs, as the Royals led the league in defensive value (74.8) and ranked fourth in defensive runs saved (40). 

The Royals have undergone big changes since Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. Shields' status remains up in the air, though there's been little talk of Kansas City engaging him in contract talks recently. Billy Butler is in Oakland. Kendrys Morales signed a two-year contract with the American League champs, while Alex Rios got a one-year deal. 

General manager Dayton Moore has had to get creative this offseason due to the limitations on Kansas City's budget. He's always done things that raise some eyebrows, though no one can argue with the results it produced in 2014. 

The American League Central has gotten stronger this offseason, with Chicago and Cleveland making upgrades and Detroit always a threat, so Kansas City has a long road ahead to return to the postseason. Volquez has to play a big role in 2015 for that to happen. 

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