The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Kelvin Herrera and Nate Karns on contracts for the 2018 season, avoiding arbitration with both players. Per club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Herrera, a 28-year-old hurler from Tenares in the Dominican Republic, served as the Royals’ closer for most of the 2017 season, going 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 26 saves in 31 opportunities. After suffering a blown save on April 9, he converted 26 of his next 28 chances (92.9 percent), the best percentage in the American League during that stretch (April 13-August 16). Herrera also ranked eighth among AL relievers with a 1.78 ERA (5 ER in 25.1 IP) in his 27 road outings.
Karns, a 30-year-old pitcher from Arlington, Texas, went 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in eight starts and nine appearances last season, his first with Kansas City. He posted a 1.59 ERA (3 ER in 17.0 IP) and held opponents to a .159 average (10-for-63) in three starts at Kauffman Stadium. On May 13, Karns fanned a career-high 12 hitters in a start against the Orioles, while over his final five starts of the season, he fanned 37 and walked just four.
Following today’s transactions, the Royals have just one arbitration-eligible player — right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer — who remains unsigned for the 2018 season.