Royals exercise option on Shields

In a pretty unsurprising move, the Royals kicked off their offseason on Thursday by exercising the club option on starting pitcher James Shields. According to’s Dick Kaegel, the option was originally worth $12 million, but contract escalators are believed to have increased it to $13.5 million for next year.

The news comes the same day Shields was honored with the 2013 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award from the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  That honors an “unsung hero or a player that the writers feel deserved recognition for an outstanding season.”

Shields was traded to the Royals last winter and helped Kansas City keep pace in the contentious AL Wild Card race this year as the ace of the pitching staff.  He went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA in an AL-best 228 2/3 innings.

He also led the league in quality starts (27), tied for the AL lead in games started (34) and was seventh in strikeouts (196).

— Joey Nowak


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