KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Friday signed right-hander Kyle Zimmer, their first-round pick in the 2012 Draft, to a one-year Major League deal.In a corresponding move, the Royals designated for assignment third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert.Zimmer, 27, had been designated for assignment in 2018 but was re-signed to a Minor
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals on Friday signed right-hander Kyle Zimmer, their first-round pick in the 2012 Draft, to a one-year Major League deal.
In a corresponding move, the Royals designated for assignment third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert.
Zimmer, 27, had been designated for assignment in 2018 but was re-signed to a Minor League deal shortly thereafter.
Zimmer's new deal is a split contract -- he will get $555,000 if in the Majors and $124,000 if in the Minors, a source told MLB.com. Zimmer has one year of options left.
Zimmer, who has battled numerous arm and shoulder injuries over his career, spent several months in 2018 at the revolutionary Driveline Baseball training program in Seattle at the suggestion of Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo. That program focuses on weighted baseballs in an effort to strengthen muscles while also improving mechanics.
"It feels like I've been given a new life," Zimmer told MLB.com in October as he worked at the Royals' Spring Training facility.
Zimmer reported then that he was throwing pain-free for perhaps the first time in his professional career.
There may have been interest from other teams in Zimmer, but Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com on Friday night, "This was based on our evaluation of Kyle from our people seeing him in the instructional league."
Cuthbert, 26, had a promising 2016 season filling in for the injured Mike Moustakas. Cuthbert hit .274 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs in 128 games.
But Cuthbert's 2018 season was derailed by injuries, most notably a lower back injury, and he appeared in only 30 games.
Cuthbert had been expected to compete with Hunter Dozier for the starting third-base job.
Dozier now would appear to be the front-runner for the position, with utility man Chris Owings, signed last fall, as the primary backup.
"I think we're satisfied with what we have at third base with Hunter Dozier and Chris Owings," Moore said. "We also have Kelvin Gutierrez [the Royals' No. 17 prospect, per MLB Pipeline]. And certainly, Emmanuel Rivera is someone who is on our radar."
It's possible the Royals will bring in a veteran corner infielder.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.