The Royals exercised its 2012 club option on Joakim Soria, the team announced on Monday.
Soria will earn $6 million in 2012 as his guaranteed three-year, $8.75 million deal expired after the season. Kansas City holds three straight options on Soria, with 2012 the first season. The Royals can also bring Soria back for $8 million in 2013 and $8.75 million in 2014.
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The 27-year-old has been one of baseball's best relievers since being selected in the 2007 Rule 5 draft. He got 2011 off to a poor start, finishing with a career-worst 4.03 ERA and just 28 saves after breaking 40 twice in 2008 and 2010. Still, Soria should return to previous levels of talent as nothing indicates he is a worse pitcher. Batted balls fell in for hits 2.1 percent more than league average for Soria this past season, and 4.4 percent more than his career levels. That may not sound like much it is fairly significant, and defense-independent ERAs say Soria's ERA should have been in the low 3.00s instead of 4.03.
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