Avila: Soria wanted to go to KC
The Tigers officially announced their two-year, $11 million deal with Mark Lowe on Tuesday once Lowe passed his physical in Detroit. So Tuesday marked GM Al Avila’s first chance to discuss Lowe’s deal and the talks with Joakim Soria that preceded it.
A year after Lowe signed a minor-league deal with Seattle to try to rekindle his career, he’ll take over eighth-inning setup duties in Detroit. His 2015 performance with the Mariners and Blue Jays, and the pitching behind it, convinced the Tigers.
Statistically, racked up a career-best 1.96 ERA this past season to go along with 61 strikeouts over 55 innings. Right-handed hitters batted just .196 (22-for-112) against Lowe with five walks and 36 strikeouts, compared with a .276 (24-for-87) average from left-handed batters. Stuffwise, while Lowe’s average fastball velocity jumped from 92-93 mph to 95.5, according to Fangraphs, opponents hit just .169 off his slider, whiffing on about 43 percent of their swings at it, according to STATS.
“He has a good slider, a very good slider,” Brad Ausmus said. “He used it quite a bit this year. I couldn’t tell you how much he used it prior [to this year], but I know he used it quite a bit. It’s a very effective pitch, a good swing-and-miss pitch.
“His velocity was up. His slider was good. He showed he could pitch at the back end of a bullpen — not the very back end, but towards the back end.”
Avila confirmed the Tigers had been talking with Soria as well. If you remember, Soria signed a three-year, $25 million deal to rejoin the Royals, turning down what was a three-year, $24 million offer from Detroit according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. Avila chose his words carefully, but in the end, said Soria chose Kansas City.
“I think at the end of the day, Mark Lowe wanted to come to Detroit, and Joakim Soria wanted to go to Kansas City,” Avila said. “I think that’s why that happened the way it did. That’s just my personal opinion.”