Royals finalize $4.5 million deal with utilityman Adam Frazier to add versatility to lineup

Tue, Jan 30, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Royals finalize $4.5 million deal with utilityman Adam Frazier to add versatility to lineup

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -

The Kansas City Royals finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract with utilityman Adam Frazier on Tuesday, rounding out a vastly overhauled club by adding a left-handed bat and some versatility to their lineup.

Frazier will make $2 million this season as part of a deal that includes an $8.5 million mutual option for 2025 with a $2.5 million buyout.

The 32-year-old spent last season with AL East champion Baltimore, hitting .240 with career highs of 13 homers and 60 RBIs across 141 games. And while he primarily played second base with the Orioles,the Royals plan to use him a variety of spots, and even made sure he was OK with that outlook before agreeing to a contract with them.

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"We needed somebody who provided us versatility given the players we have coming back," Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. "We just wanted to make sure a veteran player was OK with playing multiple positions, which was important to us. We're trying to put together the best 13 players we can so we have depth and versatility to compete across 162 games."

Frazier, an All-Star in 2021, has played shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions.

"The versatility piece, it adds so much value to a team to be able to have the right matchups in different spots in the lineup," Frazier said. "Multiple guys can bounce around the field and have that versatility. It puts the team in an advantageous position."

The Royals have Bobby Witt Jr. at shortstop, Michael Massey at second base and Maikel Garcia at third, and all of them are young players that are considered important pieces of the future. They also added Hunter Renfroe in free agency to provide some pop to the lineup and solidify the outfield, while Drew Waters, Kyle Isbel and MJ Melendez will compete for at-bats.

But the Royals are not concerned with where Frazier will fit in because, well, he could fit just about anywhere. And given the possibility of injuries anywhere in the lineup, the Royals will head to spring training in Arizona feeling a bit more comfortable.

"The season is going to bring a lot of bumps in the road," Piccollo said, "and the big one I think about is injury. You lose a guy for a month, that could be the difference in the playoffs or not. The versatility was very important in this case."

The Royals have spent lavishly in free agency to turn around the fortunes of a club coming off another 100-loss season. Along with Frazier and Renfroe, they signed fellow utility man Garrett Hampson to fortify the lineup and almost completely revamped their pitching staff, beginning with deals for starters Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha.

They also signed left-hander Will Smith to a $5 million deal to close out games and right-handed reliever Chris Stratton to a $4 million deal to hold onto leads, while acquiring rehabbing starter Kyle Wright as they look ahead to 2025.

"They're clearly committed, based on the amount of money that has been spent this offseason by Kansas City," Frazier said. "Two of the guys they brought in were my college teammates. I played with Stratton in Pittsburgh, played against Lugo and Wacha as well, even Will Smith. I think you see those guys, they've got great reputations around the league. Competitors, winners, guys that have been doing it a long time. I think their track record speaks for themselves."

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