The Atlanta Braves won the 2021 MLB World Series in six games over the Houston Astros, and former Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler was named the MVP of the series. The 29-year-old hit .300 with a trio of home runs and a trio of walks against Houston, putting up easily the best performance of anyone for the Braves. Near the league's trade deadline, the Royals traded Soler to Atlanta in exchange for minor league pitcher Kasey Kalich. Soler was struggling immensely at the time and after the trade, he posted an .882 OPS with 14 home runs in 55 games with his new team. The Inside the Royals crew gathered to discuss how Soler will be remembered as a Royal.
Jordan Foote: Jorge Soler, whether you like him or not, had one of the greatest seasons in Royals history. That will never be taken away from him, despite his immense struggles in virtually every other stretch of play. Some trades can't be determined clear wins or losses, and I think the original Soler trade is one of those. The outcome of the most recent one is to be determined but nevertheless, you can't help but be super happy for such a great person figuring things out and reaching the pinnacle of the sport when it mattered the most. The Royals will always have love for Soler, and he'll always have love for the Royals. Hindsight is 20/20, and the only thing these two sides can do is move forward in their new situations.
Tyler Dierking: For me, Jorge Soler will be remembered as the player that never materialized into what he was supposed to be. The Royals traded away arguably the most consistent and dominant reliever in baseball for the power bat they desired and, with the exception of one year, he was far from that. Whether that be because no one else in the lineup (for the most part) was worth pitching around or providing him with coverage, his health, or even coaching, Soler’s time in Kansas City shouldn’t be looked at as a success. What Soler was able to do in Atlanta was what the Royals wanted him to be in Kansas City. It’s unfortunately never materialized into that for whatever reason.
Jerry Edwards: Nobody really won the Wade Davis trade. The Cubs got the last great year out of Davis before he went to Colorado and the Royals got a power bat that will forever be the answer to a Royals trivia question.
Neither won a World Series and both sides just saw what Soler can do when he finds himself in one of those grooves, which is what he was in this Postseason. I will, however, stand by what I said before: Soler won’t be re-signed by the Braves, he will get overpaid by a desperate team looking for a power bat to get them over the top. The Blue Jays, Mariners, Phillies, Brewers and Rockies all strike me as likely landing spots for him. Congrats to him, but certain players and teams just don’t jell.
Mark Van Sickle: Jorge Soler will be remembered as a “what could have been” type of player. He arrived in the window just after the World Series runs and the Royals traded one of their best relief pitchers for a still mostly unproven power bat. All of this happened when some thought they could still win at the time. Soler had one great season with the Royals and the rest were injury-riddled or just not as productive as most were hoping to see. Soler still is a co-owner of the Royals' single-season franchise record for most home runs in a season along with Salvador Perez, and that is quite the accomplishment. The World Series MVP he earned with the Braves will give Royals fans mixed feelings as they remember his time in KC and wonder what could have been if he had played better for the club outside of 2019.
Jacob Milham: Jorge Soler's tenure as a Royal is polarizing amongst fans. On one hand, his historic 2019 performance wowed fans, blasting balls out of Kauffman Stadium at a rate rarely seen. The Royals looked like a smart front office, giving up one good year of Wade Davis for a future power hitter. Yet, 2020 and 2021 saw his trade value tank. Swinging at balls in the dirt and looking like a AAAA player most of the time, Soler had a tremendous week for Kansas City prior to being traded. 'Soler Power' was a driving force behind the Braves' World Series win, and I am happy that he earned the World Series MVP. His Royals tenure saw crazy highs and lows but for the time being, he is still etched in the Royals' record book.
Danielle Sachse: Now, when I think of Soler, I think of a World Series Champion and MVP. Though he did not do that with the Royals, his new legacy with the Braves gets stamped onto his time in Kansas City. Speaking of, his time in Kansas City was not the greatest at the end of his term. Virtually being one of the worst hitters in the league, watching his powerful bat struggle was exhausting and disappointing. In a time when the Royals needed him most, he simply could not produce. It was sad to watch his bat go silent in 2021.
But, Soler did write himself into Royals history being the co-owner of the Royals' single-season home run record with 48 in 2019, now tied with Salvador Perez. His power will be remembered for years to come in KC. I could not be happier for him and his family with the way things went in Atlanta. I hope he turns it around next season and has much success during the remainder of his career.
Sterling Holmes: Soler is the Royals in a nutshell. Trading away the most dominant relief pitcher in baseball for the promise of tantalizing potential. It’s not as if we in KC shouldn’t know better than to base our excitement on “potential” instead of actual performance. Not only did Soler never have sustained success in KC, he goes to another team and dominates. What’s more Royals than that?
The only thing that makes the trade itself palatable is Wade Davis fell off a cliff a couple of years later and unlike Wiley Coyote, he never bounced back. While Davis would have been valuable in KC for another season or two, it made sense to try and grab young, controllable players who can make an impact for a much longer timeframe. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Soler.
Christopher Tenpenny: Soler's 2019 season will always have a special place in my heart. It was incredible watching him smash home runs and there are few things better in baseball than when he connects. Injuries and inconsistent play shadowed the rest of his time in Kansas City, but did it really matter? The Royals weren't going anywhere regardless of Soler's play and a big contract to a power hitter in Kansas City could easily backfire. I'm happy Soler found his swing in Atlanta and watching him help lead the Braves to a World Series was a thing of beauty.