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Should the Royals trade Joakim Soria?

Oct 23, 2009, 10:59 AM EDT

The KC Star’s Sam Mellinger thinks they should at least consider it:

There’s something that’s been discussed in certain circles of Royals fans, and this offseason it should be out in the open. Soria is among the Royals’ very best trading chips, and they should look long and hard about using it . . . Tampa Bay needs a closer, and they’re stocked with young talent. St. Louis could certainly use Soria. The Cubs and Rangers, too. Look around. Soria would be an upgrade for just about every team in baseball, and the Royals could use an upgrade at most every position.

The idea animating this is a good one: closers are almost always overrated and overvalued. Not necessarily specific ones — Soria is about as good as it gets — but the value of the position itself is overvalued.  They don’t pitch a large number of innings, and while the ones they do pitch are often high-pressure and high-leverage, that’s not always the case.  How many of any given closer’s saves are of the three-run, one inning variety?  Can’t a lot of guys handle that?

Even if the answer to that last question is “well, not, not nearly as well as Soria,” who cares?  It’s not like five blown saves one way or the other makes or breaks the Royals next season.  A strong closer is huge in the playoffs, but the Royals will never even sniff the playoffs unless and until they find some better players at just about every position on the field.  The contenders Mellinger notes could all use a guy like him way more than the Royals could, and they all have talent to spare. It makes sense.

There are only two reasons not to trade Soria: (1) the fans will get depressed; and (2) Dayton Moore is the guy doing the trading.  Reason number one can mostly be discounted. The fans are already depressed, and that depression will only continue to deepen the longer the Royals continue to lose, even if they do have a great closer.

The second reason is a much bigger problem.  Can you trust Moore to get a decent return for the guy?  This is, after all, the man who actually gave up talent to pick up one of the worst players in all of baseball last summer. The kicker? One of the guys he gave up could very easily be on his way to being Soria’s successor in the pen if he had stuck around.

But even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile, and that’s enough of a reason for the Royals’ pig to start sniffin’ around.  If not this winter — when, to be fair, there will be a lot of closers to be had — then next summer when the contenders start to realize that their bullpens aren’t what they thought they’d be when they broke camp. 

  1. GimmeSomeSteel - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    I understand your point, but it can give the fans at least a glimmer of hope to see that at one position, even if possibly the most overrated one in baseball, their beleaguered team has one of the best.
    And why give up this good a closer for what undoubtedly would be dross? If there ‘s one thing Dayton Moore has proven, it’s that “bloodlines” are overrated in the GM business. Look how many guys hired based on who they’ve worked for have been total busts.
    Final note–As a fan of another bad team, I’ve discovered that there is something worse than realizing that my team’s bullpen isn’t what we thought it would be when they broke camp. That something is realizing that the bullpen IS what we thought it would be.

  2. James - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    The biggest reason not to trade Soria is that he’d make a great STARTER, and provide tons more value to the Royals as such. A 1-2 punch of Greinke-Soria in their rotation would give them a great chance in about 40% of their games…

  3. scatterbrian - Oct 23, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    I understand your spirit Steel, but making fans happy should not be a factor when a team is constructing a roster.
    What’s the soonest KC is expected to contend? 2011? 2012? An All-Star closer is pretty useless to a non-contender. They should definitely dangle him (Rays? Cubs?) provided Moore doesn’t just give him away.

  4. JBerardi - Oct 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    In theory, yes, the Royals should trade him. That is exactly the type of move a rebuilding team should make– trade whatever shiny bits you have to build a core of young talent. Really, it’s kind of a no-brainer. The problem, as Craig points out, is that Dayton Moore can’t really be trusted to get any kind of decent return for the guy, because, well, Dayton Moore can’t really be trusted with trades, free agent signings, the drafting and development of amateur talent, the hiring of coaches/trainers, communicating in a non-insulting way with the media/fans, or the handling of anything sharper than a well-used crayon. So, really, it kinda doesn’t matter what they do with Soria… I hope they do trade him though, because I’m a big fan of the guy (he’s so good, and he’s so much fun to watch, AND, rarest of all, he has a cool nickname), and he really deserves a less dysfunctional organization to play for.

  5. Mafalda Rosenhagen - Jan 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    I have been looking at your site at college. I probably should be more focused but I love your content too much haha! Keep up the good work.

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