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Royals lock up Alcides Escobar

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
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The up-and-coming Kansas City Royals have signed another young core contributor to a team-friendly contract. This time it's 25-year-old shortstop Alicedes Escobar, who just inked a four-year extension that includes team options for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The club has not yet disclosed the precise financial terms of the contract, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that Escobar is guaranteed $10.5 million, and the two option years, if exercised, would bring the total value of the contract to $21.75 million.

Escobar, while not much of a hitter, does provide a great deal of value with the glove, and that's just fine for a shortstop. Last season, WAR tabbed him as a 2.2-win player, which means he was worth a little more than $10 million. If he maintains that level of performance -- a reasonable assumption given his age and career trajectory -- then this contract will turn out to be quite a bargain for the Royals.

Consider this the latest data point that suggests young players in their arbitration years tend to be a bit risk-averse and thus more willing to sign below-market contracts in exchange for financial security. The Rays have exploited this phenomenon to great effect, and the Royals are following suit. This is also the approach that helped John Hart build a near-dynasty in Cleveland in the early 1990s. So don't be surprised if this becomes an even stronger trend among small-market franchises, at least until young players become a bit more fiscally daring in the aggregate.
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