Royals, Joakim Soria agree to three-year, $25m deal

Joakim Soria 1 slice


The Mets had expressed early interest in signing 31-year-old RHP Joakim Soria to help form a lockdown formula in their bullpen.

However, as the top-tier of relievers began to sign long-term deals, such as Darren O’Day and his four-year, $31 million deal with the Orioles and Ryan Madson and his three-year, $22 million contract, it became clear the market for relief pitchers would be at a premium as teams emphasize shortening ballgames in the bullpen while starting pitchers seemingly pitch less and less.

Such was the case with Soria, as he is returning to the Royals (Crasnick, ESPN) on a three-year, $25 million deal (Cotillo, SB Nation).

The deal also includes an option for a fourth year (Fenech, Detroit Free Press).

On Sunday, assistant GM John Ricco said in Nashville the Mets would now be focused on the second-tier of relievers, but are not in a rush to augment their bullpen.

2015 Winter MeetingsThat could change, Ricco said, as if their targets begin to come off the board, the Mets may be forced to act in order to procure the talent they seek.

Ricco said the Mets will be meeting with numerous agents who represent that second-tier relief market this week in Nashville.

As for Soria, it probably became less realistic he would sign with the Mets once it was reported he would indeed seek a three-year deal. He’s an excellent setup man and can certainly close, but the Mets haven’t signed a reliever to a multi-year deal since they signed Frank Francisco to a two-year contract at the 2011 Winter Meetings.

That’s not to say the Mets won’t make a multi-year offer to a reliever this winter, especially as teams begin to value bullpen assets more and more, and the demand only continues to increase.

But resource allocation could also be an issue for the Mets, which is why they are looking towards the secondary markets for relief pitching. The Mets are already projected to pay Jeurys Familia about $4 million, Addison Reed between $5-6 million, and Jenrry Mejia the prorated sum of $2-3 million through arbitration (about $1 million). The Mets need to add two relievers to their bullpen, and with prices only increasing with each passing day, the Mets need to be mindful about how they dedicate their available resources to those needs.

Ricco said on Sunday there is mutual interest in a reunion with Jerry Blevins. Other free agent relievers on the second-tier include Tony Sipp, Jonathan Broxton, Antonio Bastardo, and Trevor Cahill. 

But considering Madson’s deal with the A’s in particular, a new market standard might have been set, allowing relievers who might have been in the market for a one-year deal to net multi-year contracts.

Soria was traded from the Tigers to the Pirates ahead of the trade deadline in 2015, meaning he is not tied to compensation in the 2016 draft. He was solid for the Tigers in 43 games before being traded, going 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA with 23 saves, allowing only 32 hits and 11 walks with 36 strikeouts in 41 innings.

But as Mark Melancon’s setup man in Pittsburgh, Soria had a 2.03 ERA in 29 games, allowing only 23 hits and eight walks with 28 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.

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