Breaking down the Soria deal

The Tigers are waiting until a Thursday morning conference call to talk in depth about their big move to land Joakim Soria from the Rangers. For now, however, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

1. Soria will set up for Joe Nathan, at least for now

Dave Dombrowski confirmed this much Wednesday evening. That’s believed to have been the plan on all the trade discussions the Tigers held on bullpen help this month. While Soria set up for Nathan with good success for 26 appearances last year, Nathan hasn’t had any role but closer over the last 10 years. So for now, if he’s going to have a role, it’s going to be the ninth.

If Soria eventually closes, it’ll leave the Tigers needing another arm for the seventh or eighth, because their current bullpen doesn’t have enough depth to cover the gap. The advantage of Soria setting up, if Nathan can hold down the ninth, is that it allows Chamberlain to enter in the seventh, an inning in which the Tigers’ numbers are almost as ugly as the ninth.

2. Two solid pitching prospects is the going rate for quality late-inning relievers this summer

Reports from before the All-Star break had the Rangers seeking 2-3 prospects for Soria, and it’s believed the Rangers’ initial asking price was steeper when the Tigers first inquired about Soria. But much like the two-year, $20 million deal Joe Nathan got last winter, the Tigers had to adjust to the market. The Rangers acquired a Triple-A relief prospect from KC for middle reliever Jason Frasor, and the Padres got a decent haul from the Angels for Huston Street.

No question, it shortens the prospect ranks for the Tigers going forward. Corey Knebel had the potential to become a late-inning arm in Detroit as soon as next year, and a cost-controlled reliever at that, while Jake Thompson had the makings of a mid-rotation starter. However, the Tigers have a club option on Soria for next season (and a reasonable one at $7 million), and they could also get Bruce Rondon back from Tommy John surgery next spring.

Thompson’s departure becomes bigger if the Tigers lose both Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello to free agency. If they re-sign one, Robbie Ray likely fills the other slot. Beyond that, Drew VerHagen also has the opportunity to step up. With Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez both signed long-term, and Drew Smyly not up for free agency until after the 2018 season, the Tigers have enough candidates to fill potential holes, even with Thompson no longer in the picture.

3. Are the Tigers done adding relievers?

That might depend on what the asking price is. They have the prospect depth to put together another package, but that’s where the deals begin to hurt the near future, rather than the distant one. While the idea of having Joaquin Benoit and Soria sounds appetizing, it would leave the Tigers on the hook for $26.5 million in relievers next season (Benoit’s $8 million salary for 2015 is guaranteed, with an $8 million option or $1.5 million buyout for 2016). Chad Qualls has a more reason $3 million salary for next year, but has said he wants to remain in Houston. Koji Uehara is up for free agency.


The Rangers are getting a couple of good prospects, though. I watch both Thompson and Knebel in West Michigan last season. Knebel was just lights out for the ‘Caps, and Thompson was very good. The deal at least improves the Tigers chances in the post season, but it doesn’t solve the entire problem.
Both being from Texas, I wish them the best in the future.

Wow woke up to this? Great!

glad to hear we are working on the bull pen, but Joba has been real good in the 8th so I hope this works out for us. I caught part of the game yesterday, nice to see Miggy go yard again, I missed when Sanchez gave up all those runs, glad our offense kept going for the W

by the way, the review so far this year has really been beneficial – a few big innings have taken place after a call has been corrected in our favor – hard to argue with replay being a benefit to the game.

AA for 7th, Jaba for 8th, Soria for 9th. Or maybe Jaba’s ready to be closer now. Wrap Nathan into a another deal and offer to pay half his salary and wash your hands of that bad decision. Move on and cut your losses with him. Don’t be stubborn and keep him out there just because if his salary. Tell Coke he has to start pitching inside to left handers or he will be cut. Looks like he is afraid and always pitches away, and walks too many because of it.

Joba was overloaded like Al2. Now, they can share duties. Last tuesday, Nathan was not available to close after 3 consecutive games. A double header? you wont use the same closer twice. Joba pitched the 7th yesterday like Nathan pitched the 8th a couple of weeks ago. You use your best pitcher when needed , sabercrow says, not in a set order like JL, the formula as Dan called it.

On the other hand, they paid a lot. Extending Porcello is mandatory now. They have little starting pitching depth in the Minors going forward

Who is out of the roster?

No one. Knebel was on the active roster

Kudos to DD on the deal. Jon Daniels comes out looking good on the deal (which is what he needed after the fielder deal). “Looking” good and “doing” good are two different things. We got what we needed from a team that should have been very reluctant to do business with us.
This deal had to be done. Prospects are just that, prospects. Knebel could just as easily be another Chance Ruffin and Thompson another Andy Oliver.
DD’s work is not over yet. We still need a lefty in that pen that works. Hardy has been OK but he is, himself, nothing more than a prospect.
Coke needs a change of venue. Krol can’t be depended on.

Totally agree Dan. Even if Knebel is better than Ruffin (which I think he will be), he wasn’t the answer this year.

After last weekends series with the Tribe you wondered if something would be done . At this point the Tigers really lost nothing in the deal . Soria will help this wounded pen and maybe bring it back where it should be . I agree with Dan Krol and Coke are in a sinking boat . They were given a fair chance .

Now, in the playoffs with a 4 man rotation, we slide Smyly to the bullpen and have Smyly (L), Coke (L), Al Al (R), Chamberlain (R), Soria (R), and Nathan (R). That is a pretty good bullpen.

Prospects are the great unknown and they are only as good as what another teams thinks they are. I like this deal especially since Soria has a decent option for next year. I hope Joba comes back but he could easily parlay this season into a nice multi year in the offseason somewhere else. We will see.
Dan, to you post yesterday. Yes, Buck Martinez is not a good announcer. I think he is a better analyst but very boring. I don’t hear too many people here complain about him though. Joe Sittle (former Tiger and Ontario born) has done a nice job in his first year as the radio analyst for the Jays. I like his insights. But my favourite is Greg Zaun. I could listen to him break down things and analyze things all day. He has a great way of telling it like it is. He has no problem stating if somebody is not busting their hump. He is great. Sometimes, I think he thinks he is baseball’s Don Cherry. 🙂
Go Tigers.
— Bob

Can’t stand Buck Martinez. Seriously have to turn him off. I’m no longer stuck with him, thankfully. The dude doesn’t even have his stuff prepared.

Oh yeah. He did Baltimore games for awhile, didn’t he?
— Bob

He certainly is beginning to dress like him!!!
I Like Zonnie too. Smart baseball man. Probably make a darn good manager. Would certainly look better in a uni than Gibbons!

Dave Dombrowski: “We gave up a lot, guys that we valued. I thought, we thought it was a necessity.”

Am thinking about making my first trip to Comerica in September (Yankee Series).
Any tips from anyone on procuring tickets?

This deal changes things drastically. I kind of look at prospects as trading chips myself, so I’m on board.
Okay, you have Soria, Joba, and Alburquerque available in a situation. Why would you even bother to use Coke or Krol just because a LH hitter is up? This kind of thinking needs to change. Just go get your best pitcher. Duh. MLB is full of crap lefthanders. Like my descriptor there, Gk?

DD: “I though,we thought”??

My guess, Avila Sr Jones, Ausmus, Lamont and maybe even Leyland. He is just diffusing the responsibility like he did with the Gonzalez fiasco

They need a LH reliever. a position player or two could be gone too

Evans, Rogacki agrees with you:
DD failed to do his work last off season

I don’t agree with much of that, other than DD should have strengthened the pen over the winter.
One can place emphasis on winning the division, but demanding a WS win in something as random as the postseason is asking a lot. A long run is what one can realistically hope for, and then see where the chips fall. A lot of fans get their football and baseball mixed up.
I also think Nathan will continue as the closer with Soria as backup in that role.

Yes he most certainly did but the price in prospects, under the present circumstances, is not exhorbitant.

that is his point, the circumstances were the consequence of the inaction. Like with SS

Agree with Rich on the prospects as trading chips, but these 2 guys were young and moving up the system fast. This only looks smart if they win the WS.

Ha, just as I wrote the above. 🙂

Soria brings us a quality fresh arm as he has only thrown 503 pitches. Nathan 671 and Chamberlain 638 by comparison. Now the burning question, where is Justin Miller?? Krol needs to be in Toledo working on his secondary pitches.

Miller threw another scoreless inning last night in Toledo. I agree with you, bring him back and send down Krol. Krol needs to get straight, and Toledo will allow him to work on his location and getting Righties out.

Lefties too!!!

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