The Kansas City Royals signed first baseman Lucas Duda to a one-year contract for the 2018 season. In a corresponding roster move, outfielder Billy Burns has been designated for assignment. Jon Heyman of MLB Network says the Royals will pay $3.5 million.
Duda, a 32-year-old left-handed hitter from Los Angeles, Calif., split last season between the New York Mets and Tampa Bay, being acquired by the Rays on July 27. He combined to hit 30 home runs on the year, matching his previous career best from 2014. Of his 92 hits in 2017, 58 (63.0 percent) went for extra bases, which was the second-highest rate in the Majors, behind Joey Gallo (65.9 percent). He also collected 46 of his 58 extra-base hits against right-handed pitching, a .525 slugging percentage.
Duda spent the first seven-plus seasons of his Major League career with the Mets (2010-17). His best season came in 2014, when he finished third in the National League with 30 homers and was fifth with 92 RBI. Among Major League first basemen that have played at least 400 games at the position since 2013, Duda’s .995 fielding percentage (17 errors in 3,653 chances) ranks eighth.
Duda played in all five World Series games against the Royals in 2015, batting .263 (5-for-19) with a run scored and two RBI. He batted .234 (11-for-47) with two doubles, a homer and eight RBI in 14 postseason contests that year.