Bob Dutton confirms the Royals have declined the $8 million club option on reliever Joakim Soria, paying instead the $750,000 to buy him out. This makes Soria an unrestricted free agent free to sign with anyone. Dutton had previously reported the Royals planned to decline the option and negotiate an incentive-laden contract for Soria.
Soria is recovering from Tommy John surgery that kept him out the entire 2012 season. He is already rehabbing and is throwing 2-3 times a week. Prior to his injury, he was a two-time All-Star, who enjoyed a career-best 43 saves in 2010 with a 1.78 ERA before suffering a decline in performance in 2011 with a 4.03 ERA. In five seasons in KC he has 160 saves and a 2,40 ERA in 315 innings.
Conor Moylan asked a few weeks what should we do with Joakim Soria? The free agent market for closers is pretty weak right now. Rafael Soriano is probably the cream of the crop, with post-season choke artist Jose Valverde in the mix as well as Matt Capps and former Royal Jonathan Broxton. Reliever Brandon League - certainly not anyone's vision of a shutdown reliever - just got a 3 year $21 million deal with the Dodgers. How much does that escalate the price for Soria? If a team is desperate for someone with closing experience, even as a depth move, would they offer more in base salary than the Royals are comfortable paying? Is there loyalty between the Royals and Soria for committing to each other early on?
How high are you willing to pay to keep Joakim Soria in Royal blue?