Royals designated hitter Jorge Soler has made a change in representation. According to a tweet from Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Soler has chosen to work with agent Casey Close of Excel Sports Management after previously working with ACES (link).
The timing of this change is certainly interesting. Soler’s current contractual status with Kansas City is unique, owing to the nine-year, $30MM accord he signed with the Cubs as a 20-year-old back in 2012. After logging a 2019 campaign that included a .265/.354/.569 slash and 48 home runs, Soler is “signed” for the 2020 season at just $4MM. However, the 27-year-old retains the right to opt out of that guaranteed salary and into MLB’s arbitration process this winter, as is the case with many Cuban defectors who signed Major League deals under the previous international free agency infrastructure. Given Soler’s counting stats alone, he’s almost a certain lock to opt for the arbitration route.
Though KC still holds Soler’s rights through 2021, it stands to reason that club exec Dayton Moore might kick the tires on a potential long-term extension with the slugger this winter. If the club aims to contend within the next two seasons, as they’ve stated, Soler and his potent bat (136 wRC+ in 2019) project to be indispensable to Kansas City’s currently tepid offensive attack (cumulative 84 wRC+ in 2019).
And it certainly seems like Moore might agree with that logic: yesterday, we heard that the club is interested in using its financial resources to secure the services of existing players into the future. Hunter Dozier, Adalberto Mondesi, and Brad Keller could all be viable candidates for such an allocation, but Soler’s potentially imminent entry into arbitration could give the Royals added incentive toward wrapping an extension this winter. If both parties are open to such an idea, our own Steve Adams recently used Randal Grichuk’s five-year, $52MM 2019 extension with the Blue Jays as a touchstone for possible negotiations between Royal officials and Soler reps.