A silver lining to the Royals’ disappointing season may come in the form of a little gold.
Four Royals were selected Monday as finalists for a 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award: first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, left fielder Alex Gordon and right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
Gordon, who won the award last year, was second in baseball this season with 17 outfield assists. The other finalists for the American League left fielder award are the Rays’ Desmond Jennings and the Rangers’ David Murphy.
On Monday, Gordon was the winner of the 2012 Fielding Bible Award for left fielders. He had 24 runs saved (a sabermetric statistic), the most of any left fielder in baseball, according to FanGraphs. Jennings was second in the AL with nine.
Francoeur led baseball with 19 outfield assists, and his 116 assists since 2005 are the most in baseball in that span. Francoeur, who won a Gold Glove with the Braves in 2007, is up against the A’s Josh Reddick and the Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo.
Moustakas was second among AL third basemen with 14 runs saved, but he’s in competition with the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, who won the award last year, and the A’s Brandon Inge.
Hosmer is up against two-time winner Mark Teixeira of the Yankees, and last year’s winner, Adrian Gonzalez, who was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers in August.
Winners will be announced on ESPN2 Tuesday night at 8:30.
Each manager and up to six coaches on every staff voted from a pool of qualified players in their respective league for the award. Voters were prohibited from selecting players from their own team.Guthrie a free agent
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie automatically became a free agent Monday — along with the 136 other eligible players throughout baseball.
The Royals hold exclusive negotiating rights with Guthrie until 11:01 p.m. Central time Friday, but general manager Dayton Moore told The Star over the weekend that he expects Guthrie to explore his options on the open market.
Guthrie, who made $8.2 million this season, went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts for the Royals, who acquired him from Colorado in a July 20 trade for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
Guthrie, 33, has a career record of 55-77 with a 4.28 ERA.
The Royals also have to decide by Wednesday whether they will exercise a $750,000 buyout of closer Joakim Soria’s contract to void their $8 million option for next season.
Soria missed the entire 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.
Other free agents as of Monday include the Angels’ Zack Greinke, Milwaukee’s Shaun Marcum, Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy, Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse, Texas’ Josh Hamilton, Boston’s David Ortiz and the White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski.