August 21, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (33) in the dugout during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals, Jeremy Guthrie Restructure Contract


Well this is interesting.

Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals have agreed to restructure Guthrie’s contract, which will now save the Royals $3 million for the 2014 season. This is according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

 

With the agreement, Kansas City’s projected payroll now drops to $87 million, which is closer to the $85 million budget Dayton Moore said the Royals were trying to operate under at the beginning of the offseason. Kansas City still has seven arbitration players left unsigned, and MLB Trade Rumors estimates those seven players to cost around $21.4 million. If Moore can manage to cut about $2 million off of that estimate (about $286,000 per player) then the Royals will come in at budget entering the 2014.

The other way to look at this – and also the more unlikely scenario compared to the one above – is the Royals are trying to clear space to sign the starting pitcher they need for the rotation. Coming into today the Royals had a payroll of $90 million. Moore has said that he has the go ahead to spend beyond the $85 million “for the right player.” With one salary dump move, the Royals could open up enough space to potentially sign one of the top free agent starting pitchers to a one-year deal and still keep their payroll under $100 million.

For example, the Royals could trade Wade Davis to the Cubs for a minor league prospect or two and save $4.8 million. That money, combined with the Guthrie savings, would put the Royals around $82 million in total payroll. If Moore can get the $2 million in arbitration savings he’s already trying to get, Kansas City could then offer a three-year deal to, say, Ervin Santana for $13 million if his market collapses. This would put the Royals payroll at $93 million, or about $3 million more than where it was before today began, if the Royals spread the money out equally over three years.

Keep in mind, that is a long-shot to happen. Kansas City would need a lot to happen on the free agent market to get Santana in a situation where he’d be willing to accept such a deal. But it did happen last year with Kyle Lohse, who was in a similar situation as Santana this offseason, so it is not entirely impossible. Lohse a three-year, $33 million deal last March.

Basically what I’m getting at is this:

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