Kendrys Morales, Edinson Volquez decline options as Royals make roster moves

Former Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales (left) and starting pitcher Edinson Volquez
Former Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales (left) and starting pitcher Edinson Volquez

Designated hitter Kendrys Morales and right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez have declined mutual contract options for 2017, electing to become free agents, the Royals announced on Friday.

The decisions were expected and came as the team made a series of roster moves official as they start the annual offseason pruning of the 40-man roster.

The Royals still have until Monday to give qualifying offers to their pending free agents, including Morales and Volquez. In the case of Volquez, the qualifying offer appears unlikely. The Royals will likely wait until Monday’s deadline to decide on Morales, who hit .263 with a .795 OPS in 2016. Industry estimates have pegged it at close to $17.2 million for 2017, meaning the Royals would risk paying Morales or Volquez that salary on a one-year contract next season.

Morales’ mutual option was for $11 million in 2017. He will collect a $1.5 million buyout. Likewise, Volquez’s option was for $10 million, and he will be due a $3 million buyout.

The Royals, meanwhile, elected to decline their side of a $10 million mutual option on starter Kris Medlen, who posted a 7.77 ERA in 24 1/3 innings in 2016. Medlen, who was coming off his second Tommy John surgery, signed a two-year contract with a team option for a third year before the 2015 season. Medlen is now a free agent.

In addition, the Royals reinstated pitchers Tim Collins and Mike Minor and third baseman Mike Moustakas from the 60-day disabled list. Collins underwent his second Tommy John surgery during spring training, while Minor missed the 2016 season while trying to recover from shoulder surgery in 2015.

As previously reported, the Royals also exercised a $10 million option on closer Wade Davis and a $6.5 million option on shortstop Alcides Escobar.

The Royals’ 40-man roster now has 39 players. The deadline for players to accept qualifying offers is Nov. 14. All pending free agents are free to begin signing with other teams on Tuesday, including those who have been given a qualifying offer.