Volquez Agrees to Two-Year Deal with the Kansas City Royals

Edinson Volquez has landed a royal deal…

The 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has finalized a $20 million, two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.

Edinson Volquez

Volquez’s deal includes a mutual option for the 2017 season and was announced this week during a brief news conference at Kauffman Stadium.

The right-handed Volquez, coming off one of the best seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will make $7.5 million this season and $9.5 million next season. The option year would be worth $10 million and carries with it a $3 million buyout.

“I want to be here and help the team win some games, the way they did last year,” Volquez told reporters. “We did in Pittsburgh, too, but Kansas City went a little bit farther. They almost won the World Series. Why not do it here?”

The Royals have already signed designated hitter Kendrys Morales and outfielder Alex Rios to fill two of their most pressing needs. They also signed pitcher Kris Medlen, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and could help contribute midway through the season.

Volquez fills the last big hole by taking James Shields‘ place in the rotation. Shields became a free agent and it was unlikely the Royals would be able to keep him.

“We know full-well we’ll have to continue to make adjustments on our roster. It’s not a push-button club, it never was,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said recently. “But right now we feel like we’re in a good position to start spring training and to start the season.”

Volquez was an All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds in 2008, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. But he struggled with injuries and inconsistency the next few seasons, and started bouncing around the league.

He spent 2012 and part of the 2013 season with the San Diego Padres, finished up that season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then joined Pittsburgh last season, where he seemed to resurrect his career.

Volquez went 13-7 with a career-best 3.04 ERA, and his 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was among the best of his career. Volquez also ended the season with a career-best 18 straight scoreless innings, and had a 1.08 ERA in September.

Volquez was 9-1 with a 1.85 ERA after June 23, spanning his final 17 starts.

Volquez should slot into a starting rotation that includes young fireballer Yordano Ventura, left-handers Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas and veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.

García Signs Minor League Contract with the Atlanta Braves

It’s a Braves New World for Freddy García

The 37-year-old Venezuelan veteran professional baseball pitcher has reached an agreement on a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves, giving the team potential depth to its rotation, according to ESPN.

Freddy Garcia

García’s deal includes an invitation to the team’s major league spring training camp.

Garcia is 156-108 with a 4.15 ERA over 15 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.

Garcia spent the bulk of last season with the Baltimore OriolesTriple-A Norfolk club, posting an 8-3 record with a 2.84 ERA for the Tide.

The Braves acquired Garcia for cash considerations in August after a season-ending injury to Tim Hudson, and he went 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA in six appearances down the stretch.

Garcia pitched well enough that manager Fredi Gonzalez gave him a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

Now that Hudson has left Atlanta for the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta’s projected 2014 rotation consists of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood, with David Hale also in the mix for a spot.