During this off season, Joakim Soria decided to shed his nickname “The Mexicutioner”. And after his fourth full season in the big leagues, he deserves to be called whatever he’d like to be called. He was named to the American League All Star team in both 2008 and 2010. And Soria has been performing at an All Star level since he came to the Royals.
A Rule 5 draft pick in 2006 from the San Diego Padres organization, Soria has been one of the few bright spots wearing a Royals uniform in the last few years. He debuted with the Royals in 2007, as 23 year old closer, with a 2-3 record with 17 saves and a 2.48 ERA.
Soria opened the 2008 season with 13 straight saves, breaking the club record of 11 straight saves belonging to Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky. In fact, Joakim was only scored on 2 of 35 outings that year. He went 16 1/3 innings before giving up a run and in one stretch retired 24 straight hitters. And on May 17th of that year, the day before his 24th birthday, he signed a 3 year $8.75 million dollar contract extension. The Royals recognized what they had in Soria and made one of their better signings in years.
In 2009, injuries limited Soria to 30 saves in 33 opportunities and a 3-2 record. But in 2010 he was back to his All Star level of performance. On May 26th, versus the Texas Rangers, he recorded his 100th save, one of the youngest to ever accomplish that feat. Soria finished the year with a 1-2 record and a 1.78 ERA, with 43 saves in 46 opportunities. In fact, from May 11th to the very last game of the season, Joakim Soria did not blow a single save. After blowing a save on opening day against Detroit, he blew one in the first part of May but then not again until the final game of the season against Tampa Bay. That is more than just an All Star caliber performance. That is domination…that is Excellence.
If Joakim Soria no longer wants his nickname of “The Mexicutioner” due to its violent connotations, then that’s fine with me. He’s earned a better nickname. The one I like, and the one I first heard on Twitter is “His Mexcellence”. Based on his career with Kansas City, he deserves it. I just hope he’s a lifelong Royal…we as fans, deserve it.