Kansas City Royals Trade Wade Davis to Chicago Cubs for Jorge Soler

The Kansas City Royals have traded Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs. In exchange, they have received young power hitting outfielder Jorge Soler.

Wade Davis has been a key part of the Kansas City Royals bullpen for the past three seasons. Since 2014, his first season as a full time reliever with the Royals, Davis has posted a 19-4 record with 47 saves to go along with a 1.18 ERA and a 0.892 WHiP. He has struck out 234 batters in 182.2 innings, establishing himself as one of the elite relievers in the game.

Given the high prices for closers in free agency, Davis was sure to be an attractive trade chip if the Royals decided to move on. They did exactly that, trading Davis to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for power hitting outfielder Jorge Soler earlier today.

Despite Davis’ dominance, there are a few risk factors. He had two stints on the disabled list last season with a forearm strain, and his average fastball velocity decreased from 95.7 MPH to 94.9 MPH. Davis has also seen his strikeout rate steadily decrease, as he went from 13.6 K/9 in 2014 to 9.8 K/9 last season.

However, the Cubs are comfortable with Davis’ medicals. If he is healthy, Davis has established himself as one of the best relievers in the game, and can provide a devastating 1-2 punch to close out games with Hector Rondon. Should he not be healthy, the Cubs are only on the hook for one more season before Davis hits free agency.

On the Royals side, they may have finally found the right fielder they have sought. After the Jarrod Dyson/Paulo Orlando platoon produced a .732 OPS, ranking 22nd in baseball, the Royals needed an upgrade. Soler, while still a raw talent, has tremendous power potential, hitting 12 home runs in 227 at bats. Under control through 2020, the 24 year old Soler could be that power bat that has been desperately needed in Kansas City.

The Royals may also be getting Soler at the right time. He cut his strikeout rate by five percent last year, while drawing a walk in 11.7% of his plate appearances. While his .238/.333/.436 batting line may seem low, Soler also ran into a bit of bad luck. His line drive rate dropped by 11% last season, and his batting average on balls in play went from .361 in 2015 to .276 last year. Even a return to the norm would give Soler’s production a much needed boost.

The Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs both dealt from a position of strength. While it may seem as though the Royals should have gotten more for Davis, considering the price for closers in free agency, this should still be a deal that benefits both sides.

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