SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals added depth to their starting rotation Saturday by signing veteran right-hander Chris Young to an incentive-laden, one-year contract.
Young will make $675,000 in base salary, but he’s eligible for $1 million in roster bonuses based on active days on the roster. He is also eligible for $1,975,000 in bonuses for innings pitched, and $2.35 million in bonuses for games pitched.
“You know, at this point in my career and with my health, I feel absolutely confident in my ability to perform,” Young said. “Not really worried about my role. Pitching is pitching. Once you take the ball, you go out there and compete. That’s what I look forward to doing.”
The 35-year-old Young was 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA for the Mariners last season. He was voted the American League’s comeback player of the year after missing most of the previous season because of surgery to correct a nerve issue in his neck and shoulder.
Young said he had interest in other clubs but that he ultimately decided on Kansas City over one other promising offer. He said the fact that the Royals returned nearly their entire American League championship team intact played a big part in that choice.
“I want to in, and what this team did last year, the ability to compete, win, have a chance at the playoffs and hopefully a World Series, that’s important to me,” he said.
The Royals’ five-man rotation is largely set with Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas joining newcomer Edinson Volquez. But there is little starting depth behind them, and the news Saturday that campus co-tenant Texas could lose Yu Darvish to season-ending Tommy John surgery drove home the importance of quality backups.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that Young will make the 25-man roster out of spring training, barring an injury, but that he will likely start in a long-relief role.
“We’ll see what happens. I mean, this game changes day by day,” Moore said. “We’ve felt we really needed to add some depth with some starting rotation help. Chris certainly gives us that depth, but as of right now, he’ll be on the team as a middle guy if everyone stays healthy.”
An All-Star with the Padres, the 6-foot-10 Young is 65-52 with a 3.77 ERA over parts of 10 seasons. He has also pitched for the Rangers and Mets.
“He had a terrific year last year,” Moore said. “Obviously, he’s had some injury history in the past, but he’s got tremendous makeup, and the end of the day, you always bet on those players that are great competitors, great workers, overcomers, and Chris has certainly been that.”
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