Royals decline $7.5 million option on Joakim Soria

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Joakim Soria missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and today the Royals declined their $7.5 million option on the once-elite closer, making him a free agent.

Soria will hit the open market after receiving a $750,000 buyout, although Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that it’s possible the Royals will re-sign him at a lower salary.

Soria was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2007-2011, saving 160 games and throwing 315 innings with a 2.40 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He may have to settle for an incentive-laden one-year contract, although if a team wants to take the risk of offering Soria a multi-year they could end up getting a huge bargain in the 28-year-old right-hander.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.