The Royals on Wednesday traded closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler.
Here are nine things to know about the newest Royals outfielder.
▪ The pronunciation of his name is HOER-hay So-lair.
▪ Soler defected from Cuba in 2011, and gained residency in Haiti. After being declared a free agent, Soler signed with the Cubs in June 2012.
▪ Soler will turn 25 on Feb. 25 and he is signed through the 2020 season. His contract is favorable. He is due to make $3.67 million in 2017 and $4.67 million each year from 2018-2020.
▪ In 765 plate appearances in 211 career games in the majors, Soler has a triple slash line of .258/.328/.434 with 27 homers and 98 RBIs. He has 211 strikeouts, while walking 69 times.
▪ In 166 minor-league games (686 plate appearances), Soler had a triple slash of .295/.379/.519 with 28 home runs, 43 doubles and 120 RBIs. In those games, he had 125 strikeouts and 80 walks.
▪ Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Esptein told MLB.com in 2014 that Soler is “a really dangerous hitter.”
“He’s always hit the ball hard, he’s always controlled the zone, but now he’s hitting the ball hard with loft and elevation,” Epstein said in that interview. “His ground balls have become line drives, his line drives have become fly balls, and his fly balls tend to leave the ballpark. He’s a really dangerous hitter. When he’s right, he can use the whole field and loft the ball with ease.”
▪ In his first at-bat in the majors, Soler hit a home run against the Reds’ Mat Latos on Aug. 28, 2014.
▪ Soler was just the third player since 1900 with at least one extra-base hit in each of his ﬁrst ﬁve career games. The Cardinals’ Enos Slaughter in 1938 and Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox in 2012 were the others.
▪ In 2013, Soler was suspended five games while playing for the Cubs’ Class A affiliate in Daytona Beach, Fla., after he approached the Clearwater dugout wielding a bat.
Later that season, Soler was benched for not hustling during a game. Dale Sveum, who is the Royals’ hitting coach, was the Cubs manger that year and talked about the benching.
“We have 125 minor league players, I’m sure he’s not the only player to not run a ball out,” Sveum told ESPN. “These things get escalated because of who he is and what just happened a few weeks ago too.
“You say something, get a grip on it and then you don’t see it again. You let people know they’re held accountable for everything, and everybody is the same no matter how much money you make or what.”