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Royals decline $8 million option for 2013 on Joakim Soria, making former All-Star free agent

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.