The Royals have declined their 2013 option on Joakim Soria after he missed all of last season because of Tommy John surgery, making the former All-Star closer a free agent.
The Royals chose to exercise a $750,000 buyout clause on the right-hander Wednesday rather than the $8 million option for next season. Even though Soria is a free agent, both sides have expressed interest in working out a new contract.
Soria missed the 2003 season with his first Tommy John surgery. He was chosen by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft in 2006, and evolved into one of the league's top closers, saving 160 games and putting together a 2.40 ERA in parts of five seasons.
He was voted to the All-Star game in 2008 and 2010.