As expected, the Kansas City Royals have retained right-handed closer Joakim Soria by opting to exercise his $6 million club option for 2012, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Soria had a buyout for $750K, but obviously that didn't even cross the mind of the Royals' front office.
Soria, 27, was one of the game's elite relief pitchers from 2006 through 2010, although he stumbled through a less dominant campaign in 2011. After posting a 2.01 ERA in his first four years with Kansas City, that figure jumped to 4.03 in 2011, as Soria allowed more home runs than ever before. His strikeout and walk numbers were still quite good, but a step down from his previous levels.
And while you probably
don't shouldn't care, Soria's save numbers were down in 2011, too. After posting a 91% efficiency rate on save opportunities through his first four years, that figure dropped to 80% as he went just 28-for-35 in 2011. This may not matter to a lot of people, but it could actually affect Soria's value on the trade market if the Royals choose to seek out trade possibilities.
The Royals still have club options on Soria for 2013 ($7.25 million net) and 2014 ($8 million net) at pretty reasonable rates, so expect him to stick around for another few years barring a trade or a nasty injury.