The Kansas City Royals are back to business and announced today they have declined mutual options on pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and Alex Rios, making them both free agents. Guthrie was due to make $10 million in 2016, but will instead be paid a $3.2 million buyout. The right-handed pitcher will be 37 next April. Guthrie was 8-8 with a 5.95 ERA in 148 1/3 innings pitched this year. He made 24 starts but was demoted to the bullpen in August and was left off the post-season roster. Originally acquired from the Colorado Rockies for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez back in 2012, Guthrie signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Royals that winter. He re-negotiated the deal to backload the contract, deferring money to 2016. In just over three season with the Royals, Guthrie was 41-34 with a 4.38 ERA in 109 games. Guthrie has spent 12 years in the big leagues, winning 91 games with the Indians, Orioles, Rockies, and Royals.
Alex Rios was due to make $12.5 million if his option was picked up, but will instead be paid a $1.5 million buyout. Rios signed a one-year contract with the option last winter after playing with the Texas Rangers last year. His 2015 season suffered a setback when he was hit by a pitch in the first week of the season, fracturing his pinkie and keeping him out for two months. Rios struggled to hit once he returned and finished the season with a line of .255/.287/.353 with 4 HR 32 RBI in 105 games. Rios fared a bit better in the post-season, hitting .271/.314/.375 with a few key hits. Rios will be 35 by Opening Day and has spent 12 years in the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays, White Sox, Rangers, and Royals.
Guthrie and Rios can be re-signed by the team on lesser deals, but they join Johnny Cueto, Ben Zobrist, Chris Young, Ryan Madson, and Franklin Morales as free agents on the Royals. Alex Gordon can join that list once he declines his $12.5 million player option, as he is expected to do. The Royals also hold a $3 million club option on outfielder Jonny Gomes.