KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Royals finalized a $25 million, three-year deal with Joakim Soria on Thursday, reuniting the former All-Star reliever with the club where he spent his first five seasons.
Soria will make $7 million next season, $8 million the following and $9 million in 2018, and can earn $1 million annually in performance bonuses as a closer and $3 million as a starting pitcher. The deal includes a $10 million mutual option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
Soria was one of the game's premier closers during his first stint in Kansas City, but he missed the 2012 season for Tommy John surgery and the Royals decided not to exercise their option on him. He signed with Texas and since pitched for Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Soria went 3-1 with 24 saves and a 2.53 ERA for the Tigers and Pirates last season.
''He's very poised, great command of his fastball, just very efficient with his pitches,'' Royals general manager Dayton Moore said at the winter meetings. ''A tremendous presence in the clubhouse.''
Soria was part of some moribund teams in Kansas City and many thought the Royals should have traded him and built for the future. But Moore decided to keep Soria in part because he was so good at nailing down the few wins they could muster in the early years of their rebuild.
Now, he joins one of the best bullpens in baseball for the reigning World Series champions.
''Coming back from the Tommy John, I thought his stuff was a little bit softer in his first couple months back. But last year, I thought he was all the way back,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''He was the Soria that we had, and it was very impressive to sit back and watch.''
The Royals already exercised their $8 million option on closer Wade Davis, and setup man Kelvin Herrera and hard-throwing reliever Luke Hochevar will be back in the bullpen.
In fact, the only real departure from the group that helped finish off the New York Mets will be Ryan Madson, who parlayed a strong comeback season into a $22 million, three-year deal with Oakland.
The Royals have been fairly quiet this offseason, even though All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon declined his option for next season and chose free agency. Their only moves to solidify their roster have been signing Soria and Chris Young, who can pitch out of the bullpen or in the rotation.
''Chris Young is special,'' Moore said. ''He's an unbelievable competitor, and you can make a case that he was the MVP of our pitching staff.''
Soria can earn $200,000 each year for 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 games finished.
In 2016, he can make $100,000 for pitching 90 innings and each additional five through 185, and $100,000 apiece for starts 14-20 plus 22, 24 and 26.
In 2017 and '18, he can make $100,000 for pitching 130 innings and each additional five through 200, and $250,000 apiece for starts 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30. Those bonus opportunities would apply in 2019 if the option is exercised.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.