The Kansas City Royals have inked right-handed starter Kris Medlen to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2017, they announced today. The Royals will announce a corresponding move later today.
Medlen will make a guaranteed $8.5 million over his two year deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He makes $2 million in 2015 and $5.5 million in 2016. Medlen has a $10 million mutual option for 2017, Rosenthal reports, and that comes along with a $1 million buyout.
The deal includes performance bonuses. Medlen can make an extra $4 million in incentives this season and $6 million next season, according to Rosenthal. If all options are exercised and Medlen reaches all his performance bonuses, he can make a total of $27.5 million over three years.
The Royals have been busy this week, signing two free agent starters to deals, Edinson Volquez and now Medlen. They will likely lose top starter James Shields to free agency, so the rotation has been a big need for them. General manager Dayton Moore showed his creativity with these signings, as both Volquez and Medlen are not top arms, but have a shot to be real solid for Kansas City.
The Royals' rotation was worth the ninth-highest fWAR this past season. Behind Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie, and James Shields, Kansas City boasted one of the better rotations in the American League. The additions of Volquez and Medlen could make their rotation just as good or even better in 2015.
Medlen was non-tendered by the Braves at the beginning of this offseason, making him a free agent. The Braves did not want to tender Medlen a contract in that he is coming off a missed season due to Tommy John surgery. Medlen did not pitch in a major league game this season, as he tore the UCL in his elbow during Spring Training. On March 18, he went under the knife.
The 29-year-old Medlen had been one of the better pitchers in the Braves' rotation in 2013. He went 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in 197 innings pitched. He struck out 157 and walked just 47. The former 10th round pick is still young and has a high potential.
Medlen's best season may have come the year prior, in 2012, when he went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 138 innings pitched, making just 12 starts in 50 appearances. The potential is there for Medlen, who owns a 2.47 ERA in his last 335 innings pitched. And that makes him just the type of guy the Royals want.