The Royals said Freel, 33, is expected to join the team in time for Tuesday night's game against Detroit. The Royals will have to make room on their roster then.
Freel spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds after breaking in with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001. His career average is .269 with 22 home runs and 119 RBIs in 576 games. He also has 143 stolen bases in 191 attempts, posting a career-high 37 steals for the Reds in 2004 and 2006.
Designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday, Freel also played for the Baltimore Orioles this season. He was nagged by injuries and played just 23 games, batting .140.
A right-handed batter, Freel has played 214 games in the infield, at second or third base, and 373 games in the outfield, at all three spots. From Jacksonville, Fla., he was a 10th-round pick by Toronto in the 1995 First-Year Player Draft.
Freel spent six years with the Reds, then was traded to the Orioles last winter for catcher-first baseman Ramon Hernandez. On May 8, the O's sent him to the Cubs in exchange for ex-Royals outfielder Joey Gathright.
The cash considerations from the Cubs are expected to cover part of Freel's reported $4 million salary.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.