Two years removed from watching their closer post a remarkable 1.78 earned-run average over a full season, the Kansas City Royals are expected to exercise a buyout clause in Joakim Soria's contract later this fall as reported by Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star.
The 28-year-old reliever has an inordinately-high $8 million option for 2013, but the organization is hardly keen on sitting back and paying up due to the fact that Soria continues to recover from a second Tommy John surgery. The Royals will have a deadline window of exactly three days after the World Series wraps up to buy Soria out, in a move that would immediately send the right-hander into free agency.
Although it's obvious that Soria's value is much lower than his once-lucrative deal would stipulate, he still has his eyes set on returning to Kansas City on a restructured contract if the two sides can agree. "I just have to wait to see what they do," Soria said. "It’s better for me and my family (to stay with the Royals). The most important thing is for me to get healthy. After that, everything else will come together."
Soria still faces a lengthy recovery time without question, but may have to deal with a crowded bullpen if he does indeed return to the Royals next season. Young reliever Greg Holland ascended into the closer's role after the mid-season trade of Jonathan Broxton to Cincinnati, and looks to be the ninth inning pitcher of the future in Kansas City regardless of what Soria's status may be.