Royals let three players go as part of 40-man roster shuffle

Brandon Maurer declined an outright assignment and became a free agent on Friday.
AP

As the MLB offseason kicks into full gear, the Kansas City Royals are doing some routine maintenance on their 40-man roster.

Right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A on Friday, while outfielder Paulo Orlando and infielder Ramón Torres were sent outright to Triple-A and will become minor league free agents.

Maurer, 28, was acquired from the Padres along with Trevor Cahill and Ryan Buchter as part of a blockbuster trade prior to the deadline in 2017. He struggled through the final months of the 2017 season and throughout the entirety of the 2018 campaign, posting a combined 7.89 ERA with 52 strikeouts, 36 walks and 11 home runs allowed over 51 1/3 innings with Kansas City. He was previously outrighted off the 40-man roster in May of this year but eventually made his way back to the major leagues.

Orlando was part of the Royals’ 2015 World Series team, hit .302 and played in 128 games in 2016, and served as the team’s Opening Day right fielder in 2017. Over four seasons in a Royals uniform, the 33-year-old — one of just five Brazilian players in major league history — hit .263 with 14 homers and 81 RBIs in 874 at-bats.

Torres saw limited action in the big leagues over each of the past two seasons, hitting .225 over 102 at-bats while seeing time at second base, third base and shortstop.

Those moves created space for the Royals to reinstate three players from the 60-day disabled list: infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, outfielder Jorge Soler and right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn. Friday’s roster moves leave 37 players on the 40-man roster, which means they’ll have some flexibility to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft and sign free agents this offseason.