As expected, the Royals declined their 2013 option of closer Joakim Soria’s contract on Wednesday, making him a free agent.
The move triggered a buyout of $750,000 and voided the Royals’ $8 million option for the 2013 season.
Soria, 28, missed all of the 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery to replace a torn elbow ligament on April 3. It was the second time in Soria’s career that he had the procedure done.
Both sides have previously shown a desire to work out a new deal, which would likely include a low guarantee and major performance bonuses.
With 160 career saves from 2007-2011, Soria is third on the Royals’ all-time chart in that category. He has a career record of 13-15 with a 2.40 ERA and was twice chosen for the All-Star Game.
The move left the Royals with 39 players on their 40-man roster, but they still have three players (pitchers Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino and Blake Wood) on the 60-day disabled list.
The Royals will have to make a move on at least two of them by 11 p.m. Friday. That would be done via a trade, an outright release or by designating a player for assignment.
If a player is designated for assignment, the Royals would have 10 days to trade, release or send a player through waivers.