The Royals are expected to decline their $8MM team option on Joakim Soria for the 2013 season and instead buy the closer out for $750K, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Despite the buyout, the Royals are interested in bringing Soria back and "both sides have expressed interest in working out a new deal."
Soria has just begun throwing for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, the second time that he has undergone the procedure in his career. The right-hander was looking to rebound after a somewhat disappointing 2011 season by his standards, posting a 4.03 ERA with career-worsts in H/9 (9.0) and HR/9 (1.0) over 60 1/3 innings. The Royals also held an $8.75MM club option on Soria for the 2014 season.
A new contract with Soria would be the best-case scenario for Kansas City, as while Soria is still too valuable a commodity to let walk for nothing, $8MM is a large chunk of payroll to tie up in a closer coming off a second Tommy John surgery. Any deal that Soria signs this winter will be short-term and modestly-priced given his injury history, though Soria's track record would definitely earn him a lot of interest if he reaches free agency.