Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals have signed pitcher Kris Medlen to a two-year contract with a mutual option for the 2017 season, with the hope that the Tommy John surgery recipient will be able to contribute during the second half of the upcoming year.
Medlen put together a strong 2013 campaign for the Atlanta Braves, winning a career-best 15 games with a 3.11 earned run average in 32 games (31 starts). The right-hander missed all of last season, however, after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow during a spring training outing.
The Braves declined to offer Medlen a contract earlier this month, in large part due to his injury history. The 29-year-old also underwent a Tommy John procedure that sidelined him for the majority of the 2011 season.
Medlen has been a quality pitcher when healthy. His .674 winning percentage (31-15) since 2010 ranks only behind a pair of Cy Young Award honorees, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, over that stretch, and he sports a 2.95 ERA over 152 appearances (61 starts).
According to the Kansas City Star, Medlen will receive $8.5 million guaranteed over the life of the deal. He is slated to earn $2 million next season, but can earn an additional $4 million based on games started and innings pitched.
Medlen will make $10 million in 2017 if he and the Royals both exercise the option year. Kansas City will pay a $1 million buyout if either side declines.
The signing is the second by the reigning AL champion Royals involving a starting pitcher in as many days, with the club reportedly inking Edinson Volquez to a two-year, $20 million contract on Wednesday.
Kansas City is not expected to re-sign last year's staff ace and current free agent James Shields.
Infielder Johnny Giavotella was designated for assignment to create room for Medlen on the 40-man roster.
Giavotella hit .238 with four homers and 45 RBI over 125 games with the Royals across the last four seasons, but appeared in just 26 games in the majors over the last two.