Report: Royals, 3B Hunter Dozier Agree to Four-Year Extension

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Third baseman Hunter Dozier and the Kansas City Royals have agreed to a four-year extension, worth $25 million, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Per ESPN, the deal includes a fifth-year option for $10 million. It also has escalators and bonuses that could max the deal out at $49 million over five seasons.

Dozier, 29, has been one of the Kansas City's most impactful hitters over the last few seasons. In 2019, he hit 26 home runs and recorded 84 RBI. Last season, he didn't make his debut until Aug. 9 after testing positive for COVID-19. In 44 games, he hit six home runs and recorded 12 RBI.

Extending Dozier indicates the Royals view him as their starting third baseman for their next run of contending teams, which they believe could begin as soon as this season, though the 2022 appears more likely.

In addition to extending Dozier, the Royals have made a string of moves this offseason to acquire veterans such as first baseman Carlos Santana, left-hander Mike Minor and reliever Greg Holland. They also traded for former Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up and the starting left fielder on Boston's 2018 World Series-winning team. Still only 26, Benintendi struggled last year, playing just 14 games in the pandemic-shortened season due to a rib injury.

"The Royals needed a ready-made left-handed bat for a team they believe will contend for a playoff spot this year," Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci wrote of the deal. "Benintendi is their new Alex Gordon."

The Royals have finished in fourth-place in the AL Central in each of the past two seasons. They have not made the playoffs since 2015, when they won the World Series. 

Along with Dozier, Benintendi and Santana, Kansas City's lineup also includes former All-Stars Whit Merrifield and Salvador Perez, and Jorge Soler, who led the American League with 48 home runs in 2019. Perez is their only position player remaining from their 2015 team.