Young was a late signing last year by the Royals but turned in a terrific season on a one-year contract, going 11-6 with a 3.06 ERA while pitching 123 innings as a starter and reliever. The question is how repeatable that season is: He had a 4.52 fielding independent pitching mark, but Young is an anomaly who breaks FIP norms because he's such an extreme fly-ball pitcher. That results in a lower-than-expected batting average on balls in play. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings, Young had the lowest BABIP allowed in the majors at .212; in 2014 with the Mariners, he tied for the lowest at .240. With the Mariners, he posted a 3.65 ERA against a 5.02 FIP, and his career ERA is 70 points below his FIP.
Soria returns to Kansas City, where he was twice an All-Star while pitching for the Royals from 2007 through 2011. After missing all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery -- his second one, after also having the surgery while in the minors -- Soria hadn't been the same dominant reliever until this past season. He posted a 2.53 ERA with the Tigers and Pirates, striking out 64 in 67 1/3 innings. The one issue was he allowed eight home runs, all before his trade to Pittsburgh.
The major concerns for both would be health: Young is coming off his first back-to-back healthy seasons since 2006-07, and Soria topped 44 innings for the first time since 2011.
The reason: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. With Greg Holland out for the 2016 season with his own Tommy John surgery, and Ryan Madson leaving to Oakland on a three-year deal, the Royals wanted to replicate that 7-8-9 stranglehold and can now go Soria, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis for those innings, with Luke Hochevar and a healthy Tim Collins around for the depth.
With that deep bullpen, the Royals can stick to the same game plan that has worked the past two seasons, which means winning even without a dominant rotation. Young would slot in the rotation somewhere after Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez, with Danny Duffy and Kris Medlen also rotation candidates. Prospect Kyle Zimmer also waits in the wings.
The impact: With these relatively low-cost additions, the Royals should still have money to bring back free agent Alex Gordon, although he's reportedly being heavily pursued by the Tigers, among other teams. If Gordon does end up signing elsewhere, the Royals will have to decide where to spend the money: in the outfield, where Alex Rios is also a free agent (no big loss if he leaves, as he was terrible in the regular season in 2015), or adding another second-tier starter for more rotation depth?
The outfield market is pretty thin after you get past the big names -- Gordon, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes -- with guys such as Gerardo Parra, Denard Span and Will Venable who could interest the Royals. On the pitching end, somebody like Doug Fister may sign a one-year deal to rebuild some of his value. Going to a team like Kansas City with a pitcher-friendly park and strong defense could help him do that.