Joakim Soria Rumors

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.



2012 Vesting Options Update

Bobby Abreu's $9MM option for next season vested last weekend, so let's look around the league to see where some other players with vesting options stand…

  • Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: $12MM option vests with 600 plate appearances. Injuries have limited Furcal to just 179 plate appearances this year, so this one won't be vesting.
  • Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM option vests with 190 innings pitched. Garland is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season due to a shoulder issue, and he's only thrown 54 innings. The Dodgers won't have to worry about this one.
  • Koji Uehara, Rangers: $4MM option vests with either 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Uehara has appeared in 46 games and finished 20, putting him on pace for 67 and 29, respectively.
  • Arthur Rhodes, Rangers: $4MM option vests with 62 appearances and if he's not on the disabled list at the end of the season. Rhodes made 32 appearances with the Rangers before being designated for assignment earlier this week. Even if another team picks him up in short order, he's still unlikely to appear in enough games for the option to kick in. 
  • Joakim Soria, Royals: $6MM option vests with 55 appearances. With 47 appearances already to his credit, Soria is on pace to pitch in 68 games this year.
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM option vests with 65 games; increases to $3.25MM with 70 games. Wheeler has appeared in 34 games this year with a disabled list stint mixed in. He'd have to appear in 31 of the team's final 51 games for the option to vest, which seems unlikely.

Francisco Rodriguez agreed to waive his vesting option in exchange for additional compensation following the trade that sent him to the Brewers. He would have been guaranteed a $17.5MM salary for next season had he finished 55 games this year and been declared healthy by doctors. 

Adam Wainwright's 2012 ($9MM) and 2013 ($12MM) options will not vest because he will finish the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery. Aramis Ramirez's option depends on MVP Award finishes and whether or not he's traded, not plate appearances or another counting milestone.


AL Central Notes: Indians, Marquis, Soria

The Indians acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs today and they might not be done yet. GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he’s open to adding another pitcher or a hitter – even another outfielder. Here are some other notes and rumors from around the AL Central…  

  • The Indians should see a "marginal improvement" after adding Fukudome, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law. The Indians, who gave up two "fringy" prospects for the outfielder, are getting a player with enough on-base skills to help out.
  • Antonetti, by the way, called the improvement “incremental.”
  • MLB.com’s Bill Ladson confirms that the Tigers are interested in Jason Marquis (Twitter link). A scout suggested to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Marquis is out there now and could clear waivers next month to enable an August trade (Twitter link).  
  • There are indications that Joakim Soria will stay in Kansas City, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Stark On Shields, Melky, Soria, Marlins

Astros GM Ed Wade has been determining the market for his players, including Hunter Pence, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. Incoming owner Jim Crane urged Wade to do so in case appealing offers emerge. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors: 

  • Given Wade’s uncertain future in Houston, at least one executive suggests the GM needs to make a "job-saving deal" if he trades Pence.
  • The Rays are more likely to trade B.J. Upton than James Shields, though they realize Shields’ value has never been higher (the right-hander won't be going to the Bronx). 
  • The Phillies remain in contact with the Royals about Melky Cabrera, but the Royals have told teams they’re more likely to deal Jeff Francoeur. Kansas City is asking for a number three starter who’s nearly Major League ready in return for Cabrera.
  • Clubs that have inquired on Vance Worley have heard that he’s off of the market.
  • The Braves have shown some interest in Heath Bell, whose most aggressive suitors have been the Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies and Angels. The Padres are telling teams that they’ll need to “clearly surpass” the value of two compensatory draft picks in any deal for Bell, though they’re flexible in terms of the type of player they’d accept in return.
  • The Padres continue to field calls on Mike Adams, who will be tougher to obtain than Bell.
  • The Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks appear to have checked in on Joakim Soria.
  • The Red Sox are looking at everything, but aren’t approaching the deadline with much urgency, one AL executive told Stark.
  • Rival teams expect that the Dodgers will trade Jamey Carroll and there are indications that Rafael Furcal is drawing interest as well.
  • The Marlins, who hope to build momentum before opening their new stadium in 2012, are in a “holding pattern,” Stark reports. They’ve shown interest in third basemen.
  • Rival teams report that the Phillies say they won’t move Domonic Brown or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart. Jonathan Singleton is available in the right deal, but the Phillies don’t expect to trade him for a rental player.
  • Stark reminds us that commissioner Bud Selig ruled out contraction at the All-Star Game.

Bullpen Notes: Royals, Angels, Braves, Cardinals

Virtually every contender could use relief help, as Tim Dierkes explained yesterday. Here's the latest on the bullpen market…

  • Kansas City GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that we shouldn’t read too much into rumors about the Royals’ closer, Joakim Soria. “We certainly understand and appreciate why there would be strong interest in him,” Moore said. “He’s a premium closer. But he fits for us, and our view of Joakim Soria hasn’t changed as it pertains to his importance to our team.”
  • Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times notes that the Angels are targeting relief help. 
  • There is "growing reason" to expect the Braves to explore deals for relief help, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
  • The Cardinals are among the teams looking for a starters, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The St. Louis front office would likely shift Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen if they acquire a starter.

Phillies, Royals Discussing Melky Cabrera

The Phillies and Royals have discussed a deal that would send Melky Cabrera to Philadelphia, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The sides have exchanged names, but they aren't close to completing a trade. 

Morosi notes that it's unlikely that the Royals will trade both Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, since that would create openings in next year's outfield. The Royals and Francoeur have a mutual option for 2012 and Cabrera is arbitration eligible after the season.

Phil Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Philadelphia's interest in Cabrera earlier this week. Some Phillies people think the Royals are asking for a "small fortune" for Cabrera, Francoeur and Joakim Soria, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).

Cabrera earns just $1.25MM this season, so he's considerably cheaper than another one of Philadelphia's targets, Carlos Beltran. Beltran, a switch-hitter like Cabrera, earns $18.5MM this year and though the Mets appear willing to cover a substantial portion of that, they're asking for top young players in return. The Phillies appear to be one of the favorites to acquire Beltran.


Soria Can Block Trades To Dodgers, Rockies, Braves

The Dodgers, Rockies and Braves have replaced the Tigers, Cubs and Cardinals on Joakim Soria's no-trade list, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.com (on Twitter). The reliever can still block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies with his no-trade clause, which would provide him with leverage in the unlikely event of a proposed deal.

The asking price for Soria is "exorbitant," according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, who hears that Royals officials have never had upper-level talks about the closer with the Yankees.

Soria, 27, has a 4.03 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 38 innings this year. He had a difficult May during which he briefly lost the closer's job, but has recovered to post a 14K/2BB ratio since with just one earned run allowed in 16 innings in June and July.

The reliever’s 2012 option vests at $6MM if he finishes 55 games this year (he has finished 26 games so far). The Royals also have an $8MM option for Soria in 2013 ($750K buyout) and an $8.75MM option for  2014 ($750K buyout). Keep up with Soria and every other MLB closer at closernews.com.


Quick Hits: Phillies, Soria, Hardy, Braves

The Reds signed Pete Rose as an amateur free agent on this date in 1960 and it's safe to say their investment paid off. Rose collected 3,358 hits in 19 seasons with the Reds en route to becoming MLB's all-time hits leader with 4,256. Here are today's links…

  • Phillies starter Cole Hamels is heading into his final season of arbitration eligibility and as David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News shows in a pair of pieces, starters with Hamels-like production have been extremely well-paid in recent years. Hamels is earning $9.5MM this year in his third season of arbitration eligibility.
  • Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News explains that the Phillies might want to acquire a right-handed hitter for their lineup to avoid becoming a regular season success that fails in the playoffs, like the 2001 Mariners.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains that being selected to play in the All-Star Game has made a difference for players like Jose Bautista and Joe Nathan, who have obtained more endorsement offers and had more leverage in contract discussions since becoming All-Stars for the first time.
  • The teams on Joakim Soria's no-trade list have changed since last season, according to Morosi (on Twitter). The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are on the list, just as they were last year. The Tigers, Cardinals and Cubs were previously on Soria's list, which is designed to provide the reliever with leverage.
  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are communicating semi-regularly with J.J. Hardy about a possible extension. The Orioles began extension talks with the shortstop last week.
  • Atlanta GM Frank Wren told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that the pieces the Braves are looking for may already be on their roster.