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A Sense of Joakim Soria's Trade Value

I wrote yesterday, in my own odd and inarticulate way, that I have no idea what's going on anymore. And, I meant it. While that particular yelp was in regards to predicting Dayton Moore's moves or motivations, it can be extended to other Royals related issues as well. I don't even know what to make of Billy Butler, for example. I think he's over-rated and under-rated at the same time. Similarly, Joakim Soria has been around for so long, and generally been so good, that when he was really really good -- back in 2009 ish -- I don't even remember being that in to it. Then, when he seemingly took half a step back last year, I had this weird overreaction in which I felt like he was imploding. Which, for awhile, he actually kinda was.

So tying it all together, we've begun another round of Soria trade rumors. Of course, the lesson is that the Soria trade will never come, but instead Moore will sign CJ Wilson or somesuch. But what might Soria's image be on the trade market? We should but we can't really use the recent Papelbon signing as an example, because Ruben Amaro Jr. is a clown. But let's think this through.

Here are Soria's stats the last three seasons:

2009 25 2.21 47 30 53.0 44 14 5 16 1 69 202 7.5 0.8 2.7 11.7 4.31
2010 26 1.78 66 43 65.2 53 13 4 16 1 71 236 7.3 0.5 2.2 9.7 4.44
2011 27 4.03 60 28 60.1 60 29 7 17 0 60 102 9.0 1.0 2.5 9.0 3.53
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2011.

Age: Soria is still in his prime. Closers don't typically have a long shelf-life, but Soria doesn't appear to be your average Billy Koch.

Salary: Soria will make $6 million in 2012. This is the extent of his guaranteed money. He has a team option for $8 million for 2013 and a team option for $8.5 million in 2014. This is extremely favorable. It's a high price, but I think most teams could live with the money. The real fear with contracts is having multiple years where you have an expensive guy that you don't even want on the roster. If someone traded for Soria today, at worst, they would only have one year of a bad player on their roster.

Performance: You can see how Soria was less effective in 2011. The strikeouts went down, the hits went up, and in a new run-scoring environment, suddenly Soria was basically a league average pitcher, posting a 102 ERA+. For a short-inning high-leverage reliever, that's not that exciting. My recollection was that Soria struggled initially last year, then stopped fooling around with new pitches and was fine. I'm not sure that was the case. Soria's monthly splits from 2011 are bizarre. In April he couldn't strike anyone out, in May he struck out 12 per 9 but couldn't get outs. Perhaps it's all random noise.

I can't write about baseball anymore, but when you put it all together, this is a valuable trade commodity. Jon Daniels seems intent on building a Ron Washington proof roster, which eventually will be 11 proven closers and Nolan Ryan starting every game, so let's just trade Soria and Broxton to Texas straight away for the next Kevin Mench.