The Royals and free agent first baseman Lucas Duda have agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to Robert Murray and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Sources: #Royals in agreement on deal with Lucas Duda.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 28, 2018
Duda’s deal includes $1.3 million in incentives, boosting its potential maximum value to $4.8 million next season.
After saying goodbye to franchise cornerstone Eric Hosmer, the Royals desperately needed offensive production at a corner infield spot, as Mike Moustakas may also be in a different uniform in 2018, should anyone actually go out and sign him. Duda brings a power bat to a rebuilding Kansas City club after splitting time between the Rays and Mets last year.
Duda, who just turned 32, slugged 30 home runs in 2017 with the Mets and Rays, but his .217 batting average was the worst of his major league career. Still, his power presence and career .796 OPS will be a welcomed addition to a Royals team that lost the bulk of their offense with Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and likely Moustakas.
Duda is no stranger to the Royals, as his torrid NLCS against the Cubs in 2015 helped lead the Mets to the World Series against Kansas City. Duda’s bat cooled in the World Series as the Royals took the series in five games.
The Royals finished two games below .500 (80-82) last season and will be preparing for a major rebuild in the coming years.