Goodbye, KC’s home run king
Major League Baseball’s hot stove has been turned off, but the Kansas City Royals hooked up with the Atlanta Braves to consummate a trade just before the deadline. In said trade, the Royals will send Jorge Soler in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Kasey Kalich.
We have traded OF Jorge Soler to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for RHP Kasey Kalich. Kalich will be assigned to Quad Cities (A+).
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 30, 2021
The Royals acquired Soler in exchange for closer extraordinaire Wade Davis prior to the 2017 season. Soler’s history with the Royals has been decidedly up and down. In 2019, Soler played in every game and swatted 48 home runs, a Royals team record. But in 2017, Soler posted a wRC+ of 32 in only 35 big league games and spent a majority of the year in Triple-A Omaha. This year has been a similar down year, and Soler has only posted an 81 wRC+ with 13 home runs.
However, Soler has been truly excellent as of late, and it is why he is a tradable asset at all. Over his last 14 games, Soler has hit .239/.340/.717 with seven long balls, and looks locked into the plate right now.
In exchange for acquiring Soler, his hot and cold streaks, and all the risk they both entail, the Braves sent Kasey Kalich. The 127th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, Kalich has struck out nearly 25% of batters in High-A ball as a reliever. KK’s slider is a hard-breaking weapon that he pairs with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball. But Kalich is the definition of a lottery ticket: he is a reliever only—meaning limited upside—and he has some command issues that have resulted in high walk totals.
Still, for the Royals to get anything out of Soler, who is an impending free agent at the end of the year, is a minor miracle considering that Soler had a .183/.277/.313 triple slash and -1.6 fWAR as recently as July 18. Kalich will be assigned to High-A Quad Cities. Soler’s long-term roster replacement has yet to be announced.