Royals agree with 7 of 8 arbitration-eligible players

January 14th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals agreed to one-year deals with seven arbitration-eligible players ahead of the 2023 season, the club announced Saturday morning.

Infielder ; right-handers , , and ; and lefties and inked one-year contracts for the 2023 season on Friday, the day that arb-eligible players exchange salary figures with their clubs unless they agree to contracts.

For many teams, including the Royals, this typically acts as a deadline to sign their arbitration-eligible players for the upcoming season to avoid a hearing, which determines a player’s salary for the season.

Right-hander did not reach an agreement with the club ahead of the deadline, so he remains on track for arbitration. That process appears to be moving toward a hearing that will take place next month to determine Singer’s salary for the 2023 season.

Teams can continue to negotiate deals until the hearing; just because they exchange numbers doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in a one-year or multiyear deal. Singer is one of the Royals’ best young starters heading into the new season following a breakout in ’22, when went 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA across 27 games (24 starts). For now, the 26-year-old remains in arbitration, the process used to set the salaries of players who have established themselves in the Majors -- typically, it takes three years of service time to qualify -- but have yet to qualify for free agency. Singer and Bubic qualified as Super Two players.

With Singer outstanding, the Royals settled with the rest of their arb-eligible players. Adalberto Mondesi signed a $3 million deal for 2023 earlier this offseason. The rest agreed to the following figures, sources told The deals have not been confirmed by the club:

Lopez (second year arb-eligible): $3.7 million

Keller (third-year): $5.775 million

Barlow (second-year): $5.3 million

Bubic (first-year): $2.2 million

Garrett (second-year): $2.65 million

Clarke (first-year): $1.15 million

Staumont (first-year): $1.025 million

Thirty-three players representing 19 teams remained unsigned by the close of business Friday, including Singer as the lone Royal. Per’s Mark Feinsand, Singer filed at $3.325 million, while the Royals filed at $2.95 million. If a settlement is not reached by the hearing date, the case is brought before a panel of arbitrators. After hearing arguments from both sides, the panel selects the salary figure of either the player or the club (but not a new number in between) as the player's salary for the upcoming season.

The Royals have typically tried to avoid arbitration in the past, which tends to be a tense atmosphere for both the player and club, even though both sides understand it’s simply the way the system works. Before last year, the club had gone to an arbitration hearing only once, in 2018, when reliever Brandon Maurer lost the hearing. In recent years, more and more teams have begun to adopt a strict approach, in which negotiations cease after the exchange deadline and the case goes to a hearing.

The Royals went to two hearings last year -- during the season because the MLB lockout pushed back deadlines -- with Lopez and Andrew Benintendi. Lopez lost his and made $2.55 million, while Benintendi won his and made $8.5 million before becoming a free agent this offseason and signing with the White Sox.

Lopez will be able to enter the ’23 season without the weight of a hearing on his back, and he will come to spring looking to win an infield job.

Barlow received a sizable jump in salary for his efforts as the Royals’ most effective and durable reliever. The 30-year-old made $2.4 million last year while posting a 2.18 ERA in 74 1/3 innings with 22 walks and 77 strikeouts. He’s been their most reliable bullpen arm the past two years with a 2.30 ERA across 148 2/3 innings with 40 saves.