The Kansas City Royals received an incredible return upon trading for Wade Davis more than four years ago, but the trade that sent Davis to the Chicago Cubs has not gone nearly as well.
Jorge Soler’s underwhelming performance prompted the Royals to option the outfielder to Triple-A Omaha for the second time this season. Kansas City brought up outfielder Billy Burns to take Soler’s roster spot.
The 25-year-old proved serviceable for the Cubs during his first three years as a big-league talent, but American League pitchers have largely feasted on Soler this season. A lifetime .246/.318/.415 hitter, Soler is hitting a ghastly .154/.245/.275 with just two home runs this season. While an injury, the previous demotion and the Royals giving more at-bats to Jorge Bonifacio have limited Soler to 102 plate appearances thus far this season, he’s well off his pace shown as a Cub from 2014-16.
In Triple-A, though, Soler’s shown he doesn’t have much else to prove in the minors. He’s hit .324/.453/.667 with the Storm Chasers. Eleven home runs in just 111 at-bats factor into those numbers heavily and obviously encouraged the Royals, who brought him up earlier this summer. But he’s received intermittent playing time and doesn’t have a hit since July 2. The Royals have used Bonifacio and Whit Merrifield in right and are paying Brandon Moss $12 million over the next two years to be their designated hitter.
Soler remains under club control for three more seasons and figures to have a better shot at playing time going forward, considering the Royals’ glut of impending free agents. But for now, he’ll return to Omaha and wait.
Burns has mostly been used as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement for a Royals team that also traded Jarrod Dyson this offseason. He has three plate appearances this season.