Joakim Soria Rumors

Quick Hits: Escalona, Duke, Garza, Soria, Lawrie

"I think very highly of my client," said Zack Greinke's agent to Brewers management when the two sides opened extension talks according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Greinke, of course, represents himself. The right-hander and his sense of humor will hire an agent at some point, but for now here are some links from around the league…

  • The Astros announced that left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the season. "This probably makes us think about [Zach] Duke’s role if he doesn’t win a spot in the rotation," said GM Jeff Luhnow to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told ESPN's Jim Bowden that he wants to sign Matt Garza long-term and build around the right-hander rather than trade him (Twitter link).
  • "I hope I stay here in Kansas City," said Joakim Soria to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Soria will miss the season with Tommy John surgery, and the Royals hold an $8MM club option for his services in 2013. "I love this organization, I feel part of this family and I appreciate what they've done for me."
  • "I needed a fresh start. I needed a new team," said Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie to ESPN's Jayson Stark about his trade from the Brewers. Lawrie feels Milwaukee tried to change his effusive personality, though GM Doug Melvin disagrees.
  • John Grabow and Jamey Wright will earn $800K and $900K, respectively, if they make the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Both pitchers have incentives based on appearances, maxing out at $500K (Wright) and $200K (Grabow).

Quick Hits: Nationals, Blue Jays, Soria, Carpenter

Two weeks from now, the regular season will be underway. In the meantime, here are some links, including injury updates on a trio of pitchers…

  • "We are pretty comfortable with the team that we have right now," said Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Ladson). "If something comes up to improve ourselves, we'll certainly investigate it. We are not selling anybody or shopping anybody or making a lot of phone calls, because we are comfortable where we are at."
  • The Blue Jays have five roster spots up for grabs – left field, fifth starter, utility infielder, two bullpen spots – but there are clear frontrunners for each job according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. The team doesn't want to delay any official moves, but they also want to make sure everyone gets enough playing time to audition for jobs.
  • Royals closer Joakim Soria will undergo Tommy John surgery on April 3rd, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (Twitter links).
  • Chris Carpenter is out indefinitely with a nerve issue, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters, including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link). Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests Carpenter will likely miss two months or more (Twitterlink).
  • Joba Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle and lost a life-threatening amount of blood yesterday, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports. The injury will end Chamberlain's season and could threaten his career.
  • One scout says Mark Reynolds isn't appealing, especially given his $7.5MM salary, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. The Orioles are shopping Reynolds and teammate Kevin Gregg.
  • Padres owner John Moores could earn a substantial profit when he sells his team, partly because bidders who fail to purchase the Dodgers may view Padres as consolation prize, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports.
  • Former All-Star reliever Chad Cordero tells Jonathan Hacohen of MLB Reports that he's getting the itch to play again and will attempt to come back to the Major Leagues in 2013. The 30-year-old reliever took time off to deal with the death of his infant daughter, but he's not ready to give up on baseball yet.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


AL Central Notes: Soria, Baker, Antonetti

Here's the latest from the AL Central…

  • Royals closer Joakim Soria has suffered "definite damage" in his right elbow's UCL, GM Dayton Moore told media (including Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star) today.  Soria will visit Dr. Lewis Yocum on Tuesday to determine if Tommy John surgery is necessary and, if so, it would be the second time Soria has undergone a Tommy John procedure in his career.  Greg Holland and Jonathan Broxton would seem like the top candidates to close games for the Royals in Soria's absence, but to keep tabs on the situation, follow MLBTR's Tim Dierkes on Twitter @CloserNews.
  • Some baseball people "have said for a while" that the Royals should've traded Soria while his value was at its highest, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Soria had an off-year by his standards in 2011 but still drew some trade interest over the winter, with Kansas City demanding a top starting pitcher in return. 
  • Even if Scott Baker struggles in 2012, the Twins could still be justified in picking up his $9.25MM option for 2013, writes John Bonnes of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti discusses Shin-Soo Choo, the importance of assembling a good defensive corps to help a pitching staff and several other topics with Grantland's Jonah Keri.


Morosi On Blue Jays, First Base, Starters, Cespedes

The baseball world figures to remain relatively quietly until after the New Year, but as Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes, there is still a lot of work to be done before the season begins. Let's round up Morosi's rumors…

  • The Blue Jays are saying they will not give a hitter a contract of more than five guaranteed years, though they'll likely have to violate that policy if they want to sign Prince Fielder.
  • The Brewers, Cubs, Nationals, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Rays, and Pirates are all considering non-Fielder upgrades at first base. Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, and Derrek Lee remain unsigned, among others.
  • Some within the game believe that Joakim Soria and Carlos Marmol could be had at the right price. The Cubbies are said to be planning a "complete and total rebuild."
  • Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain available, and the Rangers may be willing to trade Matt Harrison for a more established starter.
  • Most believe Yoenis Cespedes will sign for more than the $30.25MM Aroldis Chapman received because as a position player, he carried less risk. A larger number of interested teams and the new collective bargaining agreement will also help his cause.

Red Sox Inquired On Joakim Soria

The Red Sox had discussions with the Royals about the possibility of dealing for closer Joakim Soria, multiple sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.  The talks have failed to progress, however, with Kansas City seeking the type of players that Boston doesn't want to part with for Soria.

Soria is coming off of a down season in which he turned in a 4.03 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 60 appearances.  However, the 27-year-old remains attractive thanks in part to his contract which will pay him $6MM in 2012 and has club options of $8MM and $8.75MM for '12 and '13, respectively. 

It' s important to note that Soria's contract includes a limited no-trade clause in which he can block trades to the Red Sox and five other clubs.  The other teams on that list are the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, Rockies, and Braves.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Royals were willing to listen on Soria but wanted a frontline starter in return.


Closer Rumors: Madson, K-Rod, League, Street, Soria

The Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins added closers in recent days, and it's not clear whether the remaining teams with ninth inning openings are willing to spend big.  The latest on several closers…


Royals Rumors: Soria, Holland

The Royals are downplaying it, but they would trade closer Joakim Soria for a starting pitcher and would also discuss reliever Greg Holland, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Soria, 27, is potentially under contract through 2014.  Holland is drawing interest from the Blue Jays and others after a breakout season.  Either player would require a significant bounty.


Blue Jays, Others Interested In Greg Holland

The Blue Jays are in the market for a closer, and they have interest in Greg Holland of the Royals according to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star (Twitter links). They don't have interest in Joakim Soria, and yesterday we heard that Kansas City has some interest in Colby Rasmus.

Dutton says that other clubs are interested in Holland as well, but the Royals are not inclined to move him unless they're overwhelmed with an offer. The 26-year-old right-hander broke out as Soria's setup man last season, pitching to a 1.80 ERA in 60 IP. He struck out 11.10 batters per nine innings and walked just 2.85 per nine, getting a ground ball 44.9% of the time. Holland is under team control through 2016.


Royals Exercise Joakim Soria’s 2012 Option

The Royals announced that they exercised their 2012 option for closer Joakim Soria. Soria will earn a $6MM salary, rather than a $750K buyout. Soria would not have been eligible for free agency if the Royals had declined the option. Instead, Kansas City would have gone to arbitration with Soria and he would have obtained a salary in excess of $6MM. “This decision was more of a formality,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said. 

Soria, 27, posted a 4.03 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings in 2011. It was an up-and-down campaign for the 27-year-old, who lost his closing job after a rough stretch in late May.


Quick Hits: Soria, Bourn, Transactions, Wilson

Sunday linkage..

  • A look at Royals closer Joakim Soria's contract situation shows that his $6MM option vested on July 30, when he pitched his 110th game between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Soria's option vesting merely locks in his salary for 2012; he'd have been arbitration-eligible at any rate.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the Braves should extend Michael Bourn, and what the cost of it would be. As O'Brien points out, it's hard to come by comparables for Bourn, and the best may be Juan Pierre, whose contract is widely regarded as a tremendous mistake.
  • Baseball America's Matt Eddy runs down the week's minor league transactions.
  • Recently, impending free agent C.J. Wilson said that now is not the time to look ahead to the offseason and his next contract.  In an interview on 103.3 FM ESPN (audio link), Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine seemed to agree and said that the club isn't looking to negotiate mid-season, writes Bryan Dolgin of ESPNDallas.com.
  • Infielder Felipe Lopez will report to the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate on Monday after being outrighted on Wednesday.  The veteran didn't impress on Milwaukee's big league roster this year, batting .182/.245/.182 in 51 trips to the plate.
  • It's time for Athletics GM Billy Beane to move on to a different challenge, writes Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle.  While he's been linked extensively to the Cubs job, Jenkins wonders if Beane could be a fit for the Dodgers if GM Ned Colletti winds up being hired by Chicago.
  • The Marlins have begun the process of looking at managerial candidates and there is still interest in some corners of the Florida organization in Ozzie Guillen, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The White Sox skipper has another year on his current deal but it remains to be seen whether Guillen will be invited back.

MLBTR's Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the contract information used in this post.