The Royals have announced they’ve declined Luke Hochevar’s $7MM 2017 mutual option. That means they’ll owe him a $500K buyout. He is now a free agent.
The move was expected. Hochevar underwent surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome in August, and it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to return to game action. There have, however, been indications that the Royals could attempt to sign Hochevar to a cheaper deal for 2017.
Hochevar generally pitched well in 2016 when healthy, posting a 3.86 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 over 37 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old former No. 1 overall pick struggled for years as a starter and missed the 2014 season after having Tommy John surgery, but he’s now had three relatively successful seasons as a hard-throwing reliever, including with the Royals’ 2015 World Series team.