KC Royals right fielder Jorge Soler asserted that the trade that brought him to Kansas City was the best thing for him.
The Chicago Cubs/Kansas City Royals deal that sent closer Wade Davis to Chicago in return for 25-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler was one of the biggest deals of the winter. Despite leaving the team that many believe could be a budding dynasty after winning the World Series last season, Soler insisted to Chicago Tribune writer Mark Gonzales that he was glad to be in KC:
"I think it was the best thing for me,” Soler said Wednesday of the Dec. 7 trade that sent him to the Royals for closer Wade Davis."
Soler is likely glad to be in KC because his situation had turned somewhat toxic in Chicago.
During his Cubs career, Soler suffered numerous leg injuries that made some question his hustle. Then Soler hit a controversial fly ball that Cleveland right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall misplayed into a triple. Many analysts, however, accused him of dogging it out of the box. Soler’s three-bagger drove in two runs. But, he could have conceivably scored the tying tally in a World Series game the Cubs eventually lost.
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The controversy took another twist when Chicago Senior VP of Player Development Jason McLeod implied Soler was lazy. He told Chicago Tribune writer James Neveau on January 16 (after Soler’s trade to Kansas City):
"“There are a few times throughout the year where a player will get pulled out of the game,” McLeod said. “This is not trying to harp on ‘Georgie’ at all, but he got yanked a couple of times last year for not hustling out to the outfield, for not running down the line.”"
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, however, denied that he had any problem with Soler last season. Any way you cut it, the above controversies indicated some bitterness about a player that didn’t quite live up to the hype that surrounded his nine year, $30 million contract that he signed at age 20 after escaping Cuba.
The Kansas City Royals are anxious to add Soler’s power to their lineup.
The 25-year-old Soler will now get a fresh start in Kansas City. Unlike in Chicago, he appears poised to win regular at bats. KC Royals coach Rusty Kunz is working hard with Soler to improve his routes in right field. Even if Jorge Soler still struggles with his defense, the Royals can always move him to designated hitter and play Brandon Moss in the outfield.
The Kansas City Royals are anxious to add Soler’s power to their lineup. Many in KC believe he can threaten Steve Balboni’s team record of 36 home runs (set in 1985). Beyond pure power, general manger Dayton Moore views Soler as a potential five-tool player.
Jorge Soler is the centerpiece of Kansas City’s effort to transition from the core that won the 2015 World Series to the next wave. Let’s hope he get’s off to a fast start in 2017.