In a move that came as little shock to most, the Royals declined Joakim Soria‘s $8 million option for the 2013 season after he missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery. They’ll buyout his contract for $750,000.
According to Bob Dutton, the two sides have expressed interest in another deal. For now, though, Soria is a free agent. Whatever deal he signs is likely to be incentive-laden and teams may not immediately trust him to resume closing games. Soria had started throwing again in early October after succumbing to injury during spring training last March.
The Royals were in position to let him go because they have a loaded bullpen with options available to close. Greg Holland is expected to reprise his role as closer in 2013 while Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow could be options for the role if he falters. Even Louis Coleman or Tim Collins could probably do a capable job in that capacity, so the Royals had little need for Soria to fill the back of the bullpen, where he’d reached two All-Star games for the Royals.
After joining the team in 2007 out of the Rule 5 draft, Soria made 298 appearances, covered 315.1 innings and had a 2.40 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He saved 160 games as a Royal, third most in franchise history behind Jeff Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry.