|Sources: Red Sox called on Kansas City closer Joakim Soria||12.17.11 at 4:39 pm ET|
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox had discussions with the Royals about the possibility of dealing for Kansas City closer Joakim Soria. The talks have currently failed to progress, however, with KC seeking (according to a source) at least “a couple solid pieces.” (Translation: the kind of players the Red Sox aren’t going to be putting in a deal for Soria.)
The 27-year-old Soria — whom the Red Sox did have some interest in at the 2010 non-waiver trade deadline — is coming off his worst season, converting 28 of 35 save opportunities, while finishing with a 4.03 ERA. Opponents hit .259 off of the righty, who hadn’t allowed an OBA of higher than .219 in any of his previous four seasons. Five times Soria allowed three or more runs in ’11, matching the amount of such outings for his entire career prior coming into the campaign.
Soria’s contract is extremely attractive considering his overall production, with the closer carrying club options of $6 million, $8 million and $8.75 million over the next three seasons, respectively. If any agreement was to be reached there would be one potential fly in the ointment with the Red Sox representing one of six teams Soria can block a trade to. (The impetus for such a clause — which also includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Rockies, and Braves — is usually viewed as an opportunity to renegotiate the current deal.)
Despite the recent acquisition of Houston closer Mark Melancon, the Red Sox continue to look for late-inning relief help. Still on the market are free agents Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero, both of whom are still waiting with the Sox and Reds seemingly still serving as the most likely landing spots for either of the two.
Discussions with the Athletics regarding closer Andrew Bailey continue, but, like Soria, the cost may be too high for the Sox. With Bailey still carrying three years of arbitration eligibility, Oakland carries a good deal of leverage despite the reliever’s injury issues.
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