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.”

10 Comments

in a free agent market thin on closers, curious that Soria wasn’t able to get a closer’s job. raises the salary bar for 7th inning relievers everywhere.

Agree with Jay. In the end, the guy has to want to play for your team. Understandably Soria wanted to return to his old team. It didn’t hurt that they are presently the best team in baseball. That’s a tough little factor to compete with. Lowe seems happy to be coming to Detroit. I think he’ll do fine.

Wow! Some big deals today. D-backs look to be contenders with Miller and Grienke now added to the roster to join with Corbin. Warren and Ryan to the Cubs for Castro. Both clubs got what they needed there, but I’ll bet Warren will be dynamite this season. Hey, the Tigers got Pelfrey and Lowe, who is coming off a comeback year. I’ll bet Arizona is jealous of the Bengals.

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The story of the off season: “Money and the Mouth”. Somehow it seems ver relevant

Freep has an article about how Tigers are going to develop a culture from the majors to the minor. I have to say I like this direction. Yankees proved you can’t just win by plugging in highly paid free agents. Look at all the successful organizations from all the sports, they always have a winning culture. Patriots are the prime example in my book. I like the vision, I am optimistic for the future.

2016 Tigers will be performing in an unstable milieu considering all the new players, manager in final season of contract, and departure of one of the team leaders in recent years (Alex Avila). maybe that’s why Avila has been talking about the interpersonal qualities of the new players he is bringing to the team.

We are all fans of the Tigers and hope they are successful. It’s just a matter of approach as to how that should be accomplished. For some of us, obtaining the best available players before some of our major stars decline to the point the team’s window of opportunity closes seems the best way to go. On the other hand, if Avila’s moves pan out with lower tier players, we all win and he probably saves his job as well as earns GM of the Year honors due to his shrewdness.

I think it was DD’s approach to get the best available players. I liked it, it was fun and he kept is perennially competitive. Unfortunately, we didn’t ever complete the deal with teams he built. We probably should have, but didn’t for various reasons.
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I am a big fan of what Danantonio has built at MSU. And he did it with building a culture of winning. Harbaugh looks to be doing the same thing at UMich. Red Wings have done it, etc. The thing is it is not as exciting for the fans at the beginning right. Especially, after we have been spoiled with DD’s wheeling and dealing. It takes time and is not flashy.

But, I think most of us here all want the same thing. To follow and watch a baseball team that is competitive and plays the game the “right” way. To be a team we can be proud of. It seems like that is the vision coming down from Avila, unfortunately it is a lot easier to say than do. Let’s hope they get it right.

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