February 12, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Royals and reliever Kelvin Herrera agreed on a $4.15 million, two-year deal Thursday that leaves only first baseman Eric Hosmer and closer Greg Holland among the American League champions' unsigned, arbitration-eligible players.

Herrera will make $1.6 million this season and $2.55 million next season, and can earn up to $250,000 in performance bonuses, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms were not disclosed.

The 25-year-old Herrera, who primarily handles the seventh inning, made just $522,250 last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He filed for $1.9 million for this season and the Royals countered at $1.15 million.

Royals pitchers and catchers are due to report next week to Surprise, Arizona.

Herrera was likely to earn a significant jump in salary given his breakout season. He had a 1.41 ERA over 70 appearances, fifth-best among big league relievers. He was especially good over the second half as the Royals made a run to the World Series, going 31 innings without allowing a run between June 27 and Sept. 16 - the second-longest streak in the American League.

With a maximum-effort delivery that produces a blazing fastball, Herrera also did not allow a home run last season, extending his streak to 95 straight innings dating to July 28, 2013.

The Royals have spent lavishly to keep their shutdown bullpen intact this offseason.

They exercised their option on setup man Wade Davis, which means he'll earn $7 million this year and now has an $8 million option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout. And they gave a $10 million, two-year deal to Luke Hochevar, who missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Then there's Holland, who could become a free agent after next season. The All-Star closer made $4,725,000 last season and filed for $9 million, while the Royals offered $6.65 million.

Holland had a 1.44 ERA with 46 saves in 65 appearances last season.

Hosmer, who made $3.6 million last season, asked for $6.7 million after hitting .270 last season and earning his second Gold Glove. The Royals offered him $4.6 million.

If the Royals cannot reach an agreement with Holland or Hosmer, it would be the first time since general manager Dayton Moore was hired in 2006 that a player went to arbitration. Already, players and teams have split six decisions that have gone before a three-person panel.

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