KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Kansas City Royals, faced with losing a handful of free agents and trying to cut their payroll, are shopping pitcher Kevin Appier.

Appier, scheduled to make $4.9 million in 1999, is drawing the interest of the Boston Red Sox, who signed him in 1994-95. But that contract was voided after the strike was resolved.

The Royals apparently want young pitchers for Appier and have their eye on Derek Lowe of the Red Sox. The right-hander was 3-9 with a 4.02 earned run average this year. He worked mostly in relief, but is seen as a starter.

``We're not that far along yet,'' Royals general manager Herk Robinson said. ``We're talking to a lot of other clubs about a lot of different players, but nothing is imminent.''

Appier, who has often expressed his desire to play his entire career in Kansas City, missed almost all of last season as he recovered from shoulder surgery.

He spent the season on rehabilitation assignments in the minors before coming up at the tail end of the season. The Royals are optimistic that he will be fully recovered by spring training.

Appier had his best season in 1993 when he was 18-8 with a 2.56 ERA. He is 105-80 in his career with the Royals, with a 3.34 ERA.

Robinson is faced with cutting about $10 million from a payroll of about $35 million. The Royals are projected to have lost $10 million last season.

First baseman Jeff King is signed for $4 million next year and has a blanket no-trade clause in his contract.

Robinson said he thought King might agree to a trade to a more competitive team.

The Royals also have outfielder Jeff Conine and pitcher Hipolito Pichardo under contract for $2 million each next year.

Center fielder Johnny Damon is eligible for arbitration and likely is looking at a sizable pay increase.