The KC Royals have agreed to contracts with former closer Joakim Soria and swingman Chris Young, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. The deals are said to be valid pending physicals for both players:
[Note: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports Soria’s deal is three-years, $25 million]
The 32-year-old Soria figures to return to Kansas City as the set-up man for Wade Davis. Soria, of course, played for the Royals from 2007 to 2011, taking over as closer in mid-2007. Joakim Soria came to the KC Royals as a rule 5 draft pick following Tommy John surgery.
More from KC Royals Rumors
- KC Royals Rumors: Is a monster move in the cards?
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 2 update
- KC Royals Rumors: Club should pass on this Yankee
- MLB Trade Deadline Rumors: KC Royals at a glance
- KC Royals Rumors: Is club pulling the trade trigger?
He compiled 160 saves for the Kansas City Royals (third most in team history), with an outstanding 2.40 ERA. Soria earned two All-Star appearances and was pretty much the bright spot on some bad teams.
Joakim Soria left Kansas City after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament a second time and undergoing surgery in the spring of 2012 (which opened the door for Greg Holland to take over as closer). Soria successfully returned with the Texas Rangers, and also pitched for division rival Detroit and Pittsburgh. Soria regained the closer role for the Tigers last season, saving 24 games.
Signing Soria to a large contract is clearly a move designed to maintain Kansas City’s bullpen dominance, but does make Greg Holland‘s return somewhat questionable after he underwent elbow surgery in September and was non-tendered by the team.
Bringing back Joakim Soria for what figures to be a significant deal also might allow the team to deal Kelvin Herrera for an outfielder rather than pay the price for either Alex Gordon or Ben Zobrist. The KC Royals were rumored to have discussed a trade for center-fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. with the Red Sox in November.
Meanwhile, the soon-to-be 37-year-old Chris Young proved to be a vital cog in both the KC Royals rotation and bullpen last season. After starting out as the long-man, Chris Young stepped into the starting staff in May when the Royals lost three starters. Young responded by making 18 starts and finished with an excellent 11-6 record and 3.06 ERA in 123.1 innings pitched.
Young also excelled in the World Series by pitching three innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win in KC’s 14-inning marathon victory in Game 1. Young also started Game 4, but was pulled for a pinch hitter after giving up two runs in four innings.
Chris Young figures to provide key rotation depth as a guy that wears down over the long term in the rotation, but can dominate for short spurts. As a fly ball pitcher who manages to pitch up in the zone despite a fastball that tops out at 88 mph, he’s a perfect fit in spacious Kauffman Stadium.
In a pair of moves, general manager Dayton Moore has solidified both his rotation depth and bullpen.