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Joakim Soria Update: Royals Exercise 2012 Option On All-Star Closer

The Kansas City Royals have decided to retain the services of two-time all-star closer Joakim Soria

The Kansas City Royals have decided to retain the services of their two-time All-Star closer Joakim Soria, per a source. Soria, who is the Royals highest-paid player, will make $6 million in 2012. The club would've had to pay out $750,000 to the reliever to release him, due to his current contract.

The decision has been widely viewed as a formality. Club officials say there is no reason not to retain Soria despite his performance as he is considered to be one of the veteran leaders of the club house.

For Soria's standards, his 2011 campaign would be viewed as a down season. The right-handed reliever finished with a 5-5 record, a career-high 4.03 ERA and just 28 saves in 35 chances. Soria briefly lost his closing job in late May after a tough stretch of blown saves, but regained his role in June and closed 20 of his next 22 save chances.

For more on Soria and the Royals, make sure to check out SB Nation's Royals Review blog.