Royals offer contracts to 31, but not Laffey

Royals offer contracts to 31, but not Laffey

KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Aaron Laffey was the only player not offered a 2012 contract by the Royals on Monday night.

Laffey, a left-handed reliever, becomes a free agent. He was claimed on waivers on Oct. 11 after going 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 47 games for the Yankees and Mariners last season.

The Royals have offered contracts to 31 unsigned players, including seven eligible for salary arbitration -- outfielders Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier; pitchers Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino and Jonathan Sanchez; catcher Brayan Pena; and infielder Chris Getz. This means that the club is bound to the arbitration process if no contract agreement is reached.

The only players on the 40-man roster under contract are designated hitter Billy Butler, outfielder Jeff Francoeur and pitchers Joakim Soria, Bruce Chen, Aaron Crow, Jonathan Broxton and Noel Arguelles.

The departure of Laffey leaves 38 players on the roster.

"We see all the remaining players as having a good chance to contribute to our club in 2012," said Dean Taylor, vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager.

Taylor said that having two open spots on the roster gives the Royals more flexibility to sign players, including those who become free agents by being non-tendered by other clubs.

The Royals are looking for additional pitching, including a situational left-handed reliever, plus a veteran backup infielder, preferably one who hits right-handed.

On the Royals' radar, according to FoxSports.com, is left-hander George Sherrill, who went 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA last season for the Braves. He has held left-handed batters to a .180 average in his career, but they hit .256 off him in 2011.

The Royals' infield list includes shortstop Edgar Renteria, who hit .251 in 96 games last season for the Reds, according to the Kansas City Star.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.