The Royals have picked up the club options on reliever Wade Davis and shortstop Alcides Escobar, according to reporter Jon Heyman of FanRag. The Royals will pay Davis $10 million for the 2017 season, and Alcides Escobar will receive $6.5 million. Both will be free agents after the season. Had they turned down the options, they would have owed Davis a $2.5 million buyout, and Escobar a $500,000 buyout.
The 31-year old Davis has established himself as one of the best relievers in the game, but is coming off a season marred by injury. He still posted a 1.87 ERA and 2.29 FIP in 43 1⁄3 innings with 47 strikeouts and 27 saves, and was named to his second All-Star Game. He was placed on the disabled list in July with a forearm injury and suffered from some command issues upon his return. Davis is already receiving trade interest this off-season, with the Royals potentially moving him to reduce payroll and rebuild the farm system.
The 29-year old Escobar is coming off a down season, where he hit just .261/.292/.350 with 7 HR 55 RBI and 17 steals. He was worth just 0.3 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, tying his 2013 season for the lowest WAR of his career. Escobar was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2015, but over the last four seasons he has been one of the worst hitters in baseball.
The Royals still have mutual options to decide on with Kendrys Morales ($11 million), Edinson Volquez ($10 million), Kris Medlen ($10 million), and Luke Hochevar ($7 million). They currently have around $150 million in commitments for the next season, and have said they may have to reduce payroll from last year’s franchise-record $144 million payroll.