Kansas City Royals DFA veteran Hunter Dozier

Kansas City Royals' Hunter Dozier watches his two-run triple against the Los Angeles Angels in...
Kansas City Royals' Hunter Dozier watches his two-run triple against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)(WIBW)
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Royals are parting ways with one of their longest-tenured players.

The team designated Hunter Dozier for assignment, meaning they have 10 days to trade or release him.

“It was an extremely tough decision based on who he is as a person, as a teammate, as a worker,” Manager Matt Quatraro told reporters ahead of Monday evening’s game. “We think the world of him as a person. It was a collective decision, what we thought was best at this time for the team.”

“No doubt it was a tough one,” General Manager J.J. Picollo said. “Ten years he’s been with the organization, and we’ve known him since day one. You just look at how our team’s starting to shape up in opportunities and how we balance our roster out. With Nicky (Lopez) coming back, made it a little bit tougher to get him on the field. Just feel bad for Hunter. He’s such a pro. He works hard. He’s everything you want in a teammate, so just want to wish him the best.”

Dozier, 31, began the season as the team’s starting third baseman, but struggled to a .183 batting average with just two homers over 91 plate appearances.

He hasn’t hit higher than .240 since his breakout year of 2019, where he led the majors with 10 triples to go along with a career-high 26 home runs.

That helped him earn a four-year, $25 million contract.

“We all made that decision together, and we’re all accountable for that decision,” Picollo said. “Felt right at the time. Young player, you want to extend him. Had a great year in 2019. There’s always a little give and take when you’re talking about extensions, and this one didn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to or the way Hunter did.”

Salvador Perez is the only current Royal who’s been on this team longer.

“We would definitely not take something like this lightly; nor by making the decision do we think 100% like, ‘Well, glad we did that,’” Quatraro said. “It’s very difficult on a personal level and for a lot of the guys in that room that have become not only teammates with him, but friends of his, his family, all that stuff. We don’t take that lightly.”

“Super impactful to all of us,” First Baseman Vinnie Pasquantino said. “Sad to see him go. Wish him nothing but the best. So now, we as a team move forward and try to win some games.”

“You don’t ever want to just make arbitrary decisions and not work out, so it’s certainly something we had to discuss - and are we willing to do that at this point?” Picollo said. “With the support of ownership, we were able to make this decision and move on. We just have to look forward to what’s happening in the coming years, and some of the guys that are on the team now I think are more part of the team than Hunter was.”