The Zack Greinke saga is officially over, but Greinke may not be the only superstar that is headed out of Kansas City. The number one question that is on every Royals fan’s mind is: What will the Kansas City Royals do with their All-Star closer Joakim Soria? The Royals’ Front Office has stated multiple times that they are not willing to trade Soria, but the fact of the matter is that there may not be a better time than now.
After the New York Yankees lost out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated that his number one priority is to restock the Yankee bullpen. They had their sights set on resigning reliver Kerry Wood, but Wood decided to return to the team where it all started for him, the Chicago Cubs. They were able to lock up the machine that is Mariano Rivera for two more years, but they can’t expect to get much more out of Rivera beyond those two years. It would put a lot of minds at ease in New York if they knew that they had their closer of the future waiting in the wings in Soria.
Right now may be the time for the Royals to strike. Granted, they may not want to push their fan base any further away, but this would be a move much like the Greinke deal. They would be able to address both immediate needs, as well as continue to stockpile prospects for their already potent farm system. The Royals should take this opportunity to take advantage of a desperate Yankee Front Office. The Boston Red Sox landed the two biggest players not named Cliff Lee this offseason in signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez. With those moves, many people in the baseball world are saying that the Red Sox are the team to beat in the American League, which cannot be going over too well in New York. The Yankees were so sure that their huge offer to Lee would sway the southpaw to the Bronx that they did not focus on any other player. After Lee spurned the Bombers, there was little left on the board for the Yankees to throw their wads of cash at. Cashman now says that his motto for the remainder of the offseason will be patience, but do not let that fool you. There is a sense of panic in the Big Apple.
If the Yankees were to offer catcher Jesus Montero, the “lightning in a bottle” outfielder Brett Gardner, and possibly a young pitcher, it might be an offer that Royals cannot walk away from. Now, it may not seem like the Yankees would be willing to give up such a package for a reliver, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Yankees certainly do not want another team in the AL to swoop in and pounce on Soria before they have a chance. From the Royals’ perspective, GM Dayton Moore has said that he wants to be strong up the middle. After the return that he received for Greinke, the only spot that remains to be addressed is the catcher position. Now, the Royals did get a young catcher in Lucas May from the Scott Podsednik deal last season, but May struggled in his stint with the big club. The Royals, if they completed a deal like this hypothetical one, would have Montero catching, Alcides Escobar at shortstop, and either Gardner or Lorenzo Cain in centerfield. It would be safe to say that the Royals would be incredibly strong up the middle.
Obviously, there are many arguments for keeping Soria. He is under club control through the 2014 season for a considerably inexpensive amount, especially with how overpaid closers are in today’s game. Also, dominant closers, which Soria has been for the majority of his stint in Kansas City, are very hard to come by these days. If the Royals are committed to competing for a division championship in 2012, and they really believe that they can, it would be tough to do without Soria anchoring that bullpen.
So, now comes the time to weigh the pros and cons of dealing Soria. While the Royals’ brass has stated multiple times that Soria is not going anywhere, there is no doubt that some internal discussions have happened. If the Yankees come knocking, it would be worth it to at least hear them out.