Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports

Chicago ships Jorge Soler to KC to Wade Davis

The Cubs filled their closer role but it cost them one of their bright young stars

The Cubs finally made it official on Wednesday, sending outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City for closer Wade Davis.

Davis, regarded as one of the top bullpen arms in the game the past three years, fills the void left by free agent Aroldis Chapman. Soler was in a crowded outfield and hampered with a variety of injuries throughout his career with the organization.

Davis is re-united with manager Joe Maddon, who spent four years together in Tampa Bay and helped Davis make the transition to the bullpen in 2012. Traded to the Royals for the 2013 season, Davis returned to the rotation and went 8-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 24 starts (135.1 IP). 

Davis returned to the bullpen in 2014 and fanned 109 in 72 innings while sporting a 1.00 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He was even better in the Royals title run of 2015, recording 17 saves and lowering his ERA (0.94) and WHIP (0.79) while holding hitters to a .144 average. 

Last season he notched a career-high 27 saves but made two trips to the DL in July with a right forearm strain and a right flexor strain. The 31-year-old returned to the lineup in September and appeared in 10 games, with a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings.

Davis is a free agent at the end of the season.

While many of the Cubs prospects lived up to their minor league billing, injuries never allowed Soler to reach his potential with the North Siders. Soler was signed as a free agent in late June of 2012 and split his first pro season between Mesa and Peoria.

After his first spring training with Chicago in 2013, Soler was assigned to Daytona and excelled, named Florida State League Player of the Week and earning FSL all-star honors. But it was discovered he had fouled a ball off his leg during spring training and fractured his left shin, and was shut down for the season. In 55 games with the stress fracture, he hit .281/.343/.467 with 8 HR and 35 RBI. He returned to play in the Arizona Fall League, hitting in 18-of-22 games.

The next season was marred by a series of hamstring injuries but the Cuban native battled back and by the end of August was making his big league debut for the Cubs. In 24 games, he hit .292/.330/.573 with five homers and 20 RBI.

A sprained ankle cost Soler a month during the 2015 season and an oblique strain limited his play to until the playoffs, when he hit .474/.600/1.105 with three homers. In 101 games in 2015, Soler batted .262/.324/.399 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

With Kyle Schwarber getting injured in the first week of the season, Soler had a great opportunity to establish himself as an every day player but another hamstring injury resulted in two more months on the DL. In 86 games during the Cubs World Series season, Soler batted .238/.333/.436 with 12 homers and 31 RBI. He went 2-for-13 in the playoffs. 

While the Royals are giving up their top bullpen arm, they are getting a 24-year-old outfielder still under contract the next four seasons at $3 million per year. It marks the second young position player the Cubs have dealt for a closer, sending Gleyber Torres and three others to the Yanks for three months of Chapman.


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