Jorge Soler and the Royals failed to come to agreement on a contract Friday, and will submit figures for the salary arbitration process, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan.
3:59 p.m. update: The Royals have signed Jorge Soler to a one-year, $7.3 million deal, according to Flanagan.
The Royals and Jorge Soler have signed a one-year deal for $7.3 million per source. Among the performance bonuses included are $50K for All-Star Game and $100K for Hank Aaron Award.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) January 10, 2020
Today is the deadline for clubs to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players, but going into this process does not preclude the possibility of Soler signing a long-term deal, according to Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
“Just because we exchange numbers doesn’t mean we can’t eventually do a multiyear deal,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com on Thursday. “There’s no deadline on that.”
Soler had signed a unique nine-year contract with the Cubs when he was an amateur that included an opt-out clause. That would have ordinarily given him the ability to test free agency, but because Soler has not yet reached the six years of service time to be eligible for free agency, he will still be under club control through 2021.
Instead, Soler has three options; (1) negotiate a one-year deal with the Royals; (2) negotiate a multi-year deal with the Royals; (3) go to a contested arbitration hearing against the Royals in which an arbiter will either side with Soler or the club. Once Soler files for arbitration, his old contract is voided. Only one arbitration-eligible player has ever gone to a hearing against the Royals since Dayton Moore arrived, with Brandon Maurer losing his case in 2018.
The Royals and outfielder Jorge Soler did not commit to a contract on Friday, per source, meaning both sides now will submit numbers for salary arbitration at some point over the next 24 hours. The range could be anywhere from $6-10 million.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) January 10, 2020
Soler was slated to make $4 million in 2020 under his contract, but by opting out he can earn substantially more through the arbitration system. Arbiters have traditionally valued more traditional statistics like home runs and RBI, categories Soler did exceptionally well in last year. The 27-year old hit .265/.354/.569 with 117 RBI and a league-leading 48 home runs. Flanagan notes that while sites like MLB Trade Rumors and Cot’s Contracts estimate he could make up to $11 million, industry experts think his actual salary will be lower due to Soler’s shaky track record of health.
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