The Royals announced that right-hander Nate Karns has rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha after clearing waivers. He’ll elect free agency instead and can now sign with any team.
Karns, 31 next month, didn’t make it back to the mound in 2018 after seeing his 2017 season cut short by surgery to alleviate throacic outlet syndrome. The righty has shown promise as a potential back-end starter at times in the Majors, including a 2015 campaign in which he notched a 3.67 ERA with 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 in 147 innings with the Rays. Those 147 frames stand out as a career-high in the Majors for Karns, though, and while he gave Kansas City a respectable 4.17 ERA in 45 1/3 innings in 2017, his last time on a big league mound was nearly 18 months ago (May 19, 2017).
The Royals agreed to pay Karns a $1.375MM salary for the 2018 season last winter, avoiding arbitration in his first offseason of eligibility. But he’d have been arb-eligible for a second time this winter and would’ve received that same sum while carrying considerably more uncertainty as pertains to his health.