His power might be nice, but the KC Royals shouldn’t pursue Jorge Soler.
Remember when Kansas City traded Wade Davis, one of their best-ever relievers, to the Cubs for Jorge Soler during the 2016-2017 winter? Remember how the deal dismayed so many because Davis had averaged just a tick under 30 saves in the past two seasons, and in three years the oft-injured Soler hadn’t lived up to his billing as a prodigious power hitter?
Remember how the injury bug and a weak bat limited Soler to 96 games and just 11 home runs in his first two KC seasons?
And remember how that bug and soft bat disappeared in 2019 when Soler didn’t miss a game and demolished Mike Moustakas’ single-season Royal home run record of 38 with 48 of his own?
Then came 2020. An oblique strain sidelined Soler for much of September, he played in slightly more than two-thirds of Kansas City’s 60 games, and his eight homers extrapolated to about 21 for a full season. And in 2021, he was hitting just .186 when the club shipped him to Atlanta with just minutes remaining before the 2021 trade deadline expired.
Soler, of course, exploded with the Braves. He clubbed 14 homers and slashed .269/.358/.524 in 55 post-trade games (he hit 13 homers in 94 with KC), then slashed .300/.391/.800 with three homers to win the World Series MVP award.
What’s the lesson Kansas City should learn from all that? Soler is loaded with power, but also packed with inconsistency, a combination posing much risk for the Royals considering the kind of salary he may command after those superb second-half and Fall Classic performances.
(If that’s not enough, Soler’s glove won’t meet the club’s everyday needs in right field, and KC already has too many players who’ll share the 2022 DH slot).
It might be nice to have his power back, but Soler shouldn’t be in a Royals uniform this season.