The history of the Kansas City bullpen is quite a storied one. Names like Dan Quisenberry, Jeff Montgomery, Mike McDougal, Roberto Hernandez and Steve Farr often come up when thinking of the guys who've manned the ninth inning in years past for the Royals. Specifically, Quisenberry was one of the best of his generation and became an iconic player in over 900 innings pitching from the Royals bullpen. And certainly Montgomery, who pitched for over a decade for KC, is a familiar face as he saved over 300 games for the franchise.
So where does Kansas City's current saves artist sit when compared to the rest of the team's history? Things look good so far for Joakim Soria, who we've taken a closer look at all of this week with the MLB All-Star Week upon us. Soria is currently sitting in third place on the Royals all-time saves list, and that's only in three-and-a-half years. Soria has 111 saves total and Dan Quisenberry is next with 238. That number is very approachable, given that Soria projects to end this season with nearly 130 saves and four more years of team control on the horizon for Soria's contract. That means Soria only has to average 25 saves each year to match that feat.
The harder one will be matching Jeff Montgomery, and this will take more than some super-human effort on the part of Soria. Instead, this will take commitment to the franchise. Montgomery's 304 saves rank 19th all time in major league history, ahead of Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and six behind Goose Gossage. It takes not only career longevity to reach those ranks, but a commitment to one franchise if you're also aiming for team records.
Of course, in this day and age, Soria is more likely to make his money and unless the times change drastically by then, Soria's likely to find more greenbacks with a larger market team. Still by that time, the Royals hopefully will have enjoyed a healthy eight years with Soria and by then, he will likely be the team's second most successful closer of all time. That in itself is a legacy and it's a joy to watch it happening in real time.