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Royals exercise 2014 club option for James Shields

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

To no one's surprise, the Royals are bringing James Shields back for 2014.
To no one's surprise, the Royals are bringing James Shields back for 2014. (USATSI)

More: 2014 MLB Free Agent Tracker

As if there was ever any doubt, the Royals officially exercised their 2014 club option for right-hander James Shields, the team announced. He will earn $13 million next season. This was a no-brainer decision.

Shields, 31, went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA (131 ERA+) and 1.28 WHIP during his first season in Kansas City. He made 34 starts and led the AL with 228 2/3 innings pitched. It was his seventh straight season of at least 200 innings.

The Royals acquired Shields and others from the Rays last offseason for a package centered around top prospect Wil Myers. Myers hit 13 home runs with a 132 OPS+ in 88 games for Tampa Bay after being a midseason call-up.

Shields is scheduled to become a free agent next winter. The Royals won 86 games in 2013, their best season since 1994. With the team on the way up, they'll likely engaged their ace righty in talks about a long-term contract extension at some point in the next 12 months.

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