Mike Minor has declined his portion of a $10 million mutual option and is now a free agent, according to MLB.com writer Jeffrey Flanagan. He adds that the Royals are interested in bringing him back as a closer. Minor has a $1.25 million buyout that is typically still paid in a mutual option, even if the option is declined by the player.
Minor originally signed a two-year, $7.25 million deal with the Royals before the 2016 season, but missed all that year as he recovered from labrum surgery. He returned as a reliever in 2017 and was fantastic, posting a 2.55 ERA and 2.62 FIP in 77 2⁄3 innings of relief with 88 strikeouts and six saves. He was ninth among all relievers in WAR, according to Fangraphs. He was almost unhittable for lefties, who had a line of just .163/.228/.196 in 102 plate appearances against him.
With his injury past, Minor is likely seeking a long-term deal to give him some security. MLB Trade Rumors predicts him to get a four-year, $28 million deal, projecting him to go to the Dodgers, but he will likely be coveted by nearly every contending team. The Royals may find it difficult to fit his salary into their plans next year, as they already have about $120 million committed to next year’s payroll. Minor becomes the ninth free agent for the Royals, joining Melky Cabrera, Trevor Cahill, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Peter Moylan, and Jason Vargas.