Lorenzo Cain and the Kansas City Royals have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
The financial terms have yet to be unveiled, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that the sides were close to a deal for $17.5 million. Earlier on Friday, Cain requested $7.85 million and was offered $5 million by the Royals for arbitration, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The midpoint of Cain's filing is at $6.42 million, which means the Royals can buy out his last season before free agency in 2017 by paying $17.5 in the extension. Also, Mike Moustakas filed at $7 million and the Royals countered with $4.2 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Kansas City should meet Moustakas in the middle, which is at $5.6 million.
Kansas City has Alex Gordon in left field, Cain in center field and Jarrod Dyson in right field to start things off on Opening Day. Paulo Orlando will fill a role off the bench when needed, but expect to see the three Opening Day starters all season long. Cain should maintain his third slot in the batting order for the Royals.
Cain, 29, hit .307/.361/.477 with 169 hits, 34 doubles, six triples, 16 home runs, 37 stolen bases and 72 RBI across 140 games in his first arbitration-eligible season, which he made $2.8 million in 2015. Cain finished third in American League Most Valuable Player award voting, behind Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays, and made his first ever All-Star game. Donaldson won the Most Valuable Player by hitting .297 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI for the Blue Jays.
The 29-year-old was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 17th round in the 2004 MLB Draft and made his debut on July 16, 2010 against the Atlanta Braves, which the center fielder went 0-for-1 in the game. Over six seasons and 498 games, Cain has hit .288/.337/.418 with 33 home runs, 87 stolen bases and 216 RBI. He should find himself batting around .290 with 20 home runs and 85 RBI in 2016 if he can stay healthy and consistent for the Royals.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports said, "The Royals’ offseason checklist isn’t done. After locking up Gordon and Cain, the Royals have focused on starter Ian Kennedy, with whom they’d made progress on a deal in recent days, and redoing the contract of catcher Salvador Perez, the World Series MVP and a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner."