The Royals have restructured the contract of pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, freeing up some payroll space for 2014.
Guthrie was originally scheduled to earn $11 million this season and $9 million in 2015 under the terms of his original three-year deal.
Instead, he’ll earn $8 million this season and $9 million in 2015, with a $10 million mutual option added for 2016.
The option has a $3.2 million buyout, which means the value of the contract is about the same, with Guthrie getting an additional $200,000.
But the Royals have cleared $3 million from their 2014 payroll.
The news was first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but the deal was restructured in November.
“We were able to restructure the contract and gain more flexibility heading into the offseason,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
The Royals have been busy in the offseason, signing second baseman Omar Infante for four years with a club option for a fifth for $30 million, and pitcher Jason Vargas for four years at $32 million.
The restructuring brings the Royals’ payroll to about $87 million, which is about the same as last season when they delivered their best record in a quarter century at 86-76, and what Moore has said he expects it to be this season.
The Royals have seven arbitration-eligible players: first baseman Eric Hosmer, infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, outfielder Justin Maxwell and pitchers Greg Holland, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow and Tim Collins.
Those seven can file for arbitration on Tuesday, and the Royals and any player would exchange salary proposals by Friday. Hearings are scheduled in February, but the player can sign before — or even during — the hearings.
Guthrie, who will turn 35 in April, was acquired from the Rockies in 2012. He was 15-12 with a 4.04 ERA and led the Royals in victorieslast season. He’s 20-15 with a 3.78 ERA in 47 starts in Kansas City.