The Kansas City Royals have made an unexpected commitment to win in 2013. And if they want to follow through on that commitment, they should take advantage of a weak market for reliever Rafael Soriano.
Earlier this month, as reported in many sites including NBCSports.com, the Royals sent Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year, Wil Myers, packing to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. There were other players involved, but the main pieces of the deal showed that Kansas City was not interested in waiting for more prospects. They needed major league pitching.
The Royals were heavily criticized for the trade, including by Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, who described the deal as a "misguided gamble."
But there is no use in utilizing a strategy like this in a half-hearted manner. The Royals have already sacrificed Myers. They have added Shields and Davis to the rotation, re-signed Jeremy Guthrie and taken a chance that Ervin Santana will rebound.
They should also make a move for Rafael Soriano, who is finding the offseason market to be less than fruitful.
Soriano pitched beautifully for the Yankees in the absence of legendary Mariano Rivera. But the Yankees are certain that 43-year-old Rivera will regain his old form and are letting him walk.
So adding Soriano to their bullpen might not be the massive financial commitment for the Royals as, for example, Jonathan Papelbon's four year deal was for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Perhaps a two year deal for Soriano will be acceptable. He could be an anchor for a bullpen that already includes talented arms like Tim Collins, Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and newly acquired veterans George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler.
The Royals could have one of the top bullpens in baseball to go along with their improved rotation.
Granted, it would cost them a draft pick. But as they showed with Wil Myers, General Manager Dayton Moore is willing to sacrifice some of the future for some winning in the present.
If this is their path, the Royals need to follow it wholeheartedly.