KANSAS CITY -- Power-hitting outfielder Jorge Soler is finally having the type of breakout season the Royals envisioned when they traded Wade Davis to the Cubs for him after the 2016 season.
And it likely will cost the Royals financially this offseason.
There is a provision in Soler’s contract that Kansas City inherited from the Cubs that allows him to opt out of his deal in order to file for arbitration.
Soler, who is scheduled to make $4 million a year each season through 2020, became arbitration-eligible last season. But Soler sustained a season-ending injury in June, thus it was prudent for him to take the guaranteed $4 million for this season.
This time around almost surely will be different. Club officials already are bracing for Soler to file for arbitration after this season, though his camp hasn’t indicated it will yet.
Soler, who hit his 21st homer on Friday against the Twins, is on pace for 43 home runs, which would break Mike Moustakas’ Royals record in a season of 38.
Soler would be in line for a significant raise to his scheduled $4 million for 2020 if he goes to arbitration.
By going to arbitration, the rest of Soler’s contract that he signed with the Cubs in 2012 would be voided. But the Royals still would have Soler under club control through 2021, his final year of arbitration. He could become a free agent after the '21 season.
The Royals could avoid an arbitration hearing with Soler this offseason by signing him to a new deal, a scenario that seems probable. They have only gone to arbitration once under general manager Dayton Moore. That was in 2018 when they won a case against former reliever Brandon Maurer.
Dozier is back
The Royals reinstated third baseman Hunter Dozier after a brief three-day rehab with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Dozier, recovering from a thorax injury, and his wife welcomed a new addition to their family on Thursday -- a baby girl named Blake.
The Royals had discussed the possibility of Dozier transferring to Triple-A Omaha this weekend. But manager Ned Yost said Moore saw Dozier play on Wednesday night and Yost decided Dozier was ready to return to the big league team.
To make room for Dozier, the Royals optioned outfielder Jorge Bonifacio to Omaha.