The trading of Zack Greinke today signals the Royals are building for the future before day one of the 2011 season. Their starting rotation is now Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro, Sean O’Sullivan, and maybe Mark Gubicza at this point. With a rotation like that, and a bullpen that looks even less stable, it does not make much sense for the Royals to pay $10m over the next two seasons to closer Joakim Soria. Enter the Rays who currently have a gaping hole in the back-end of the bullpen.
Soria has quietly been one of the better closers in baseball having converted 115 of his last 121 save opportunities with impeccable peripherals. Cot’s shows that he can block trades to the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, and Cubs that limits where the Royals can move Soria. Additionally, trading partners would be limited by the fact the Royals have the best farm system in all of baseball so the typical dangling of prospects for Soria would not come into play as much as it normally would.
The Royals clearly have a need for starting pitching at the major league level and the Rays have a considerable amount of depth at that position within the organization. Years of control of Jeff Niemann for Soria, perhaps?