KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher James Shields heads a list of eight potential free agents from the Royals' American League championship club and, in the wake of Wednesday night's World Series loss, he said he'd like to return.
"I had a phenomenal two years -- so far," Shields said. "I'm still a Royal as it is right now, but I definitely would like to come back. ... We'll see what the future holds for me."
Designated hitter Billy Butler is on the list -- if the Royals decline to exercise the club option on his $12.5 million contract for next year, which is likely. The buyout is $1 million.
"Even if they decline it, you can still talk. Nothing's been said. I haven't been told anything, nor should I. We were focused on the World Series," Butler said. "The only thing I know is I've been a Royal my whole life -- since I was 18 years old, my whole professional career. I bleed Royal blue, and I'm a proven Major League player. If it's not here, it's somewhere else, but I'd rather it just be here."
Right fielder Nori Aoki, through a contract provision from his Milwaukee days, can become a free agent this winter, and he also sounded eager to return.
"Of course, I want to be back here next year. I went through a whole season with these guys," Aoki said. "They're all unbelievable teammates, so I want to come back next year."
Pitcher Luke Hochevar, coming up on free agency, missed the entire season after Tommy John surgery but hopes to stay in a Kansas City uniform.
"Hopefully I'm back here and we're doing it again. That's what I hope," Hochevar said. "We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'm back in this clubhouse again."