The Royals declined their $7 million mutual option on right-handed reliever Luke Hochevar on Saturday, per a team announcement. Hochevar received a $500,000 buyout and will enter free agency on November 7.
The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2014, but enjoyed a resurgence with the Royals the following season, pitching to a 3.73 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings and picking up three postseason appearances in the Royals’ 2015 championship run. In 2016, the 33-year-old saw just 37 1/3 innings with the club before undergoing season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in August, and finished his year with a 3.86 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and a 4.44 K/BB rate.
Last week, Justin Dodd of the Kansas City Star explored the possibility of Hochevar’s return to Kansas City in 2017, mentioning the club’s potential interest in a “low-risk, one-year deal.” Any negotiations will have to be made after the reliever enters free agency on Tuesday.