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Royals avoid arbitration with trio of players

Club reaches one-year contracts with Hosmer, Hochevar, Bonifacio

KANSAS CITY -- Add first baseman Eric Hosmer, pitcher Luke Hochevar and utility man Emilio Bonifacio to the list of satisfied Royals players on the contract front.

The Royals made a lunchtime announcement on Friday that the three arbitration-eligible players had agreed to 2014 contracts, avoiding salary arbitration.

Hosmer, who jumped back from a subpar 2012 to become the Royals Player of the Year in '13, got the biggest raise. He went from last year's $528,250 to a rousing $3.6 million for '14.

Hochevar, making a successful shift from the starting rotation to the bullpen, signed for $5.2 million plus performance bonuses. He earned $4.56 million last year.

Bonifacio, obtained from the Blue Jays to play second base in the last part of the season, agreed to $3.5 million. His 2013 salary was $2.6 million.

In addition, Hosmer and Bonifacio will earn an additional $50,000 by making the All-Star team.

That left three arbitration-eligible players unsigned prior to Friday's deadline for exchanging salary figures -- pitchers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow and outfielder Justin Maxwell. Pitcher Tim Collins and catcher Brett Hayes signed earlier.

According to multiple reports, Holland asked for $5.2 million and the Royals offered $4.1 million; he earned $539,500 last year. Crow was offered the same $1.28 million he made last year, but asked for $1.7 million. Maxwell, at $492,500 last season, also asked for $1.7 million and the club offered $1.075 million.

After a spectacular rookie season in 2011, Hosmer's numbers nosedived in '12 -- from a .293 average to .232, from 19 home runs to 14 and from 78 RBIs to 60. On cue in 2013, his production ramped up as the Royals made a run for a postseason berth.

Hosmer notched career bests of .302, 188 hits (including 34 doubles), 79 RBIs, 60 multihit games (most in the American League) and a .353 on-base percentage. He also had 17 homers, three triples and 11 steals while scoring 86 runs. To top it off, he won the AL Gold Glove Award, the first Royals first baseman to do so.

Hochevar, after five years as a starting pitcher, prospered in relief. Among AL pitchers with at least 60 innings, he ranked third in opponents' batting average (.169) and sixth in ERA (1.92). He also had a 5-2 record, two saves and 82 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings.

However, in Spring Training, he's expected to get another look as a starter.

Bonifacio, acquired last Aug. 14, batted .285 for the Royals and made 29 starts at second base. He had a total of 28 steals for the Blue Jays and Royals. Able to play the outfield as well as the infield, Bonifacio was moved to a utility role this offseason when the Royals signed Omar Infante to play second base.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for

Kansas City Royals, Emilio Bonifacio, Luke Hochevar, Eric Hosmer