KANSAS CITY, MO (January 17, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has agreed to terms on one-year Major League contracts with right-handed pitchers Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino, and left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for the 2012 season, avoiding arbitration with all three. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed. Outfielder Alex Gordon is the Royals lone remaining arbitration-eligible player.
The 28-year-old Hochevar compiled an 11-11 record with a 4.68 ERA in 31 starts in 2011. He set career bests in wins, starts, innings (198.0), strikeouts (128) and quality starts (16). The Royals Opening Day starter last season was 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts following the All-Star break, holding opponents to a .222 average which ranked sixth in the American League among starters. The first-overall selection in the 2006 June Free Agent Draft resides in Knoxville, Tenn., with his wife, Ashley, and daughter, Laney.
Paulino, 28, joined the Royals on May 26, 2011 in a trade with the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations. He was 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Kansas City following the deal, striking out 119 in 124.2 innings. He struck out 8.59 hitters per nine innings as a Royal, which ranks as the fifth-best in franchise history among hurlers with at least 120 innings. Paulino followed up his 2011 campaign by being selected as a member of the MLB All-Star team that toured Taiwan in early November, starting the third game of the five-game exhibition series. Paulino initially signed with the Houston Astros as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2001. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, he now resides in Pearland, Texas, with his wife, Paola, and daughter, Victoria.
Sanchez, 29, was acquired from San Francisco with left-handed pitcher Ryan Verdugo on November 7, 2011 in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera. He has posted a 3.75 ERA over his last three seasons with the Giants in 85 games (81 starts). In 2011, Sanchez was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts before missing the final month and a half with a left ankle sprain. He posted a breakout 2010 campaign for the World Series champions, going 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA, tossing 5.0 shutout innings in Game 162 vs. San Diego as the Giants clinched the N.L. West. The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder is 38-46 with a 4.26 ERA in 174 career outings, including 118 starts. He tossed the 13th no-hitter in Giants history on July 10, 2009 vs. San Diego. Sanchez has posted 736 strikeouts in 708.0 innings, a rate of 9.355 strikeouts per nine innings which ranks as the third-best in baseball (min. 700 IP) since 2006, trailing the Giants’ Tim Lincecum (9.87) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (9.360), who have won three of the last four National League Cy Young Awards. Sanchez was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and now resides in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico. He has one son, Christian.