As arbitration approaches, it would be nice if the KC Royals and Jorge Soler’s camp came to an agreement on a contract extension.
The KC Royals and Dayton Moore are notorious for avoiding arbitration hearings with their players. It’s one of the blessings of being in a small market: Teams tend to care a bit more about their players, and players tend to care a bit more about their team. With Jorge Soler still without a contract extension, though, something’s got to give.
Soler was terrific in 2019. Playing in every single game during the regular season, the Cuban-born designated hitter/outfielder posted a .265/.354/.569 line with a league-leading 48 home runs and 117 RBIs. He also led the league in strikeouts with 178, but his ability to draw walks offset that problem by quite a bit.
The consensus among Royals fans was that Soler would be offered a contract extension after the season concluded, or at least some reports of his camp and the Royals being in deep talks would surface. The situation has been relatively quiet as of late and as the Jan. 10 deadline approaches for arbitration-eligible players and their teams to submit salary figures, that’s not a good sign.
Spotrac estimates Soler would be worth $11.2 million for the 2020 season. This would be a handsome raise for one of the game’s best hitters, but probably not a bad deal. If Moore were able to take that down to $9M or $10M per year over, say, 4-5 years, then we’d be in business.
For every single one of his faults (lack of defense and baserunning ability, tons of strikeouts), Soler makes up for them with an elite hit tool. He can flat-out crush baseballs. 2019 was a huge year for him — and it couldn’t have come at a better time, either. He’s cemented himself as a fixture for the future of the KC Royals.
Jorge Soler is a very good baseball player. When you have very good baseball players who won’t cost an arm and a leg, you do whatever it takes to lock them up long-term. Let’s see it: soon.