The 2021 KC Royals reported for spring training a few weeks ago, however, the team had a busy weekend with their first action of the spring. Off the field, the Royals gave one of their players a contract extension on a team-friendly deal.
2021 KC Royals: Contract Extension
The Kansas City Royals and Hunter Dozier came to terms on a contract extension. Dozier’s deal is a four-year extension worth $25 million. Included in the deal is a fifth-year option worth up to $10 million.
Hunter Dozier started his big-league career in 2016 mainly as an outfielder. In 2018, Dozier transitioned back into the infield at first and third base.
During the 2019 season, Dozier was sort of in limbo about what position he would play. He played 100 games at third base for KC and had his best season to date. The former first-round pick batted .279, with 26 homers, and 84 RBIs.
With the Royals signing Maikel Franco last offseason, Dozier then saw less time at third in 2020. Dozier has moved yet again around the diamond, but this time back to right field and first base. Franco was let go by KC and now Dozier is set to be the everyday third basemen for the 2021 KC Royals.
The 2021 KC Royals had their first spring training game Sunday afternoon against the Texas Rangers in Suprise, Arizona. Before the game began, it was announced that the game would be a six-inning ball game.
Rangers slugger Joey Gallo, smashed a homer off Ervin Santana in the top of the first, so KC trailed earlier. Everything seemed normal up to this point, but KC had the bases loaded early in the game and Carlos Santana was due up. Due to the new rules this spring, the Rangers manager, Chris Woodward, can say after 20 pitches, the inning can end regardless of how many outs there are. Kansas City fell victim to this rule twice with the bases loaded so technically, they left six runners on base without recording an out.
On the defensive side, Scott Barlow and Wade Davis looked great out of the bullpen for the 2021 KC Royals during their first action this spring. Kris Bubic got knocked around, but he avoided damage by going toe to toe with Joey Gallo during the game.
The game ended with KC winning 3-2 after six innings. As the Rangers and umpires left the field, the Royals planned to play an intrasquad game.
Intrasquad Action Anyone?
Before the game, it was planned the club would play a couple of innings to make up for the innings not played during the game with Texas. This was pretty much like the summer camp games that were played back before the 2020 season began.
The biggest takeaways from this were Royals’ top prospect, Bobby Witt Jr, drawing a nine-pitch walk against Eric Skoglund. Another big highlight was Bubba Starling getting a two-run single that scored Emmanuel Rivera and Bobby Witt Jr.
The game sort of came to an end when Brad Keller was pitching and got hit on a comebacker. Keller shook off the KC training staff and was fine as manager Mike Matheny later said they ended it due to precautionary reasons.
Next on Tap?
Today, the Royals will travel to Goodyear, Arizona to take on the Cleveland Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm central time. Jackson Kowar will get the start for the Royals in their second spring training game.
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