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Opening Day Countdown: 19 and 18 » mindahaas.net

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Mar 20

Opening Day Countdown: 19 and 18

Let’s see if I can come up with a post every day of the rest of the offseason. Today, there are 18 days left until Opening Day on April 6.

Joakim Soria, Mexicuting.

In happier times...

It would appear that I missed a day yesterday. Huh. All is folly.

All is folly anyway, as we get news that Joakim Soria needing Tommy John surgery…

…is what I would have written if the Royals’ bullpen wasn’t so deep. Yes, it is absolutely a bummer to know that we definitely won’t see Soria return to dominance this summer, because he won’t return at all. But it’s not likely to cripple any chances that Royals may have at respectability (or first in the division, if that’s what you think is in store). Clark Fosler wrote this last week:

Let’s say Joakim Soria is ineffective [or injured!] and Jonathan Broxton never healthy:  the Royals’ closer would become Greg Holland, with Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera setting him up.   At the same time, let’s say the league figures Louis Coleman out and Jose Mijares is a disaster.   Enter Tim Collins and Blake Wood.   That may make you a little nervous, but remember we are talking about sixth and seventh inning guys at this point.   Simultaneously, Luis Mendoza reverts to pre-2010 form or has to go into the rotation.   The Royals can call upon Everett Teaford (who might be a better options as the long man anyway).

Kansas City has options here. It’s not like Soria was the only talented reliever out there. And for many reasons, losing a closer won’t be as apocalyptic as the casual fan might think – Soria wasn’t always used in the toughest moments of the game, because the toughest (highest-leverage) moments don’t always happen in the 9th.

Greg Holland did well in high-leverage situations last year. He actually struck out a higher percentage of the batters he faced in those situations than he did in medium-leverage scenarios. He could slide into the closer role, though it’s likely that that title will go to Broxton by default. That, by no means, is bad news either.

Losing Soria is a bummer, because we love watching him pitch. But it’s not season-shattering for the team’s chances to do whatever – get better, climb toward playoff appearances, stop being embarrassing. It sucks more in a “missed opportunity” way, in that KC didn’t trade him a while ago, when his stock was higher than right now, or B) that he isn’t getting the opportunity to rebuild some trade value.

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