The Tigers addressed their most glaring need on Wednesday evening, acquiring relief pitcher Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for young prospect pitchers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.
The 30-year old Joakim Soria has been the Rangers closer the entire season, collecting 17 saves in 35 appearances this season. Soria (1-3, 2.70 ERA) was regarded as one of the best relief pitchers on the market, and the Tigers definitely gave up a good deal of talent in return for his services. Two of Detroit’s top prospects in starting pitcher Jake Thompson (2nd round, 2012), and relief pitcher Corey Knebel (Supplemental 1st pick, 2013) are headed to their home-state of Texas to play for the Rangers.
The Tigers are in ‘Win Now” mode, and this move proves that Dave Dombrowski knows that. With the likes of Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez not getting any younger, and Max Scherzer’s future still in doubt, Dave D knows this is a make-or-break season. The bullpen has been the Tigers biggest problem this year, especially the closers role with Joe Nathan. A move had to be made at whatever the cost.
Dombrowski confirmed in an e-mail to media members on Wednesday night that Nathan will continue to close games for the Tigers for the foreseeable future, but the acquisition of Soria gives them options should Nathan’s struggles continue. It probably helps that Soria was Nathan’s set up man last season in Texas.
Soria is owed a pro-rated contract worth $5.5M this season and has a club option for next season.
Welcome to Detroit, Joakim!