If Soria, 29-years-old, can bounce back from his second Tommy John surgery (performed last April), the Rangers might have found a steal before the offseason really starts to heat up.
Soria is a two-time All-Star and was one of the game’s top closers from 2007-2011, posting a 2.40 ERA, 160 saves, a 1.04 WHIP and a 3.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, the Royals made a crucial mistake by not trading him at the peak of his value.
While closers don’t often demand tons in trade scenarios, Soria might have been second-best only to the New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera during that five-year stretch and could have landed the Royals something of note in return.
Coincidentally, the Yankees were rumored (Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated) to have made a move for Soria prior to the July 31st trade deadline during the 2010 season. Top prospect Jesus Montero was said to be in the fold at the time and was eventually traded to the Seattle Mariners this past offseason for starting pitcher Michael Pineda.
Closers can hold tremendous value in MLB, but can’t quite make their full impact on bad teams—precisely what the Royals have been for the better part of two decades now.
Keeping Soria around until now didn’t quite make sense for Kansas City. The team has a very young—and cheap—bullpen in place, and his role was up in the air with Greg Holland coming on strong in 2012; so the decision to let him walk with virtually no fight was understandable.
However, the fact they have nothing to show for it now is just another negative mark on general ganager Dayton Moore’s tenure in Kansas City.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.