The Kansas City Royals have only one player with a 2013 contract option, and that player is seriously injured. Joakim Soria went down early in spring training with damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery in early April.
With a Royals bullpen stacked with young talent -- and a return by spring training next season the best-case scenario for Soriano -- it seems likely that Kansas City will not pick up Soria's $8 million option but go for his $750k buyout instead.
While buying out Soria is probably a smart decision financially for the club, it could put the 28-year-old right-hander in a tough situation in terms of finding a team to take him on. If the right-hander cannot pitch until April at the very earliest, then his opportunities to showcase himself for teams prior to the season will be slim to none.
Soria has a great track record of success, but it is likely only the Royals know his medical history and health status well enough to determine if he can make back sight unseen. Because of this uncertainty, I suggest then that Kansas City take a page out of the Texas Rangers' recent handbook (in extending the injured Colby Lewis) and take on Soria for the 2013 season. Perhaps the team can even renegotiate his contract terms so the front office can use some of the $8 million on the rotation help the team is seeking.
Soria has put together five strong seasons as the Royals' closer. Kansas City should reward Soria's contributions to the team and not leave the injured right-hander hanging unclaimed on the free agent market.