— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 7, 2016
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2016
It’s worth noting the medical review process is not a formality. Davis missed some time with a forearm injury this past season while Soler spent time on the shelf with a hamstring problem. The arm injury for the pitcher is the bigger concern, obviously. For what it’s worth, both players finished the 2016 season healthy and on their team’s active roster.
The bullpen trade market has exploded over the last 14 months or so, which makes getting Davis straight up for Soler pretty impressive. Davis was still excellent around the forearm injury this summer. The Cubs gave up four players, including top prospect Gleyber Torres, to get rental Chapman at midseason. They’ll be trading only one player for one full season Davis.
Based on that, either the Cubs are really worried about Davis’ medicals, or the Royals really like Soler. My guess is the latter. Interestingly enough, Soler is not the kind of player we’ve seen Kansas City employ in recent years. He’s prone to striking out — Soler has a 27.6 percent strikeout rate in his MLB career — and he’s not good defensively.
Still, getting a 24-year-old outfielder with four years of team control and star caliber tools is a pretty nice return for one year of a reliever, even one as good as Davis. I’m a bit surprised the Royals didn’t wait until Chapman and Kenley Jansen signed to trade Davis, however. They might have been able to create a bidding war.