According to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Detroit Tigers are one of three teams who have been in contact with the struggling Texas Rangers about reliever Joakim Soria.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 11, 2014
Tigers fans will be familiar with Soria from his days as a dominating closer for the hapless Kansas City Royals from 2007-2011. The Royals were terrible but Soria shredded batters to the tune of a 2.40 ERA across 315 innings with KC. His tenure with the AL Central rival ended in the spring of 2012 when it was announced that he would have Tommy John surgery (the second such surgery of his career) and miss the season.
The Rangers signed him prior to the 2013, though he began the year on the DL while still recovering, and pitched to reasonable success in 23 innings upon his return. This year, however, the 30-year old has returned to his previous dominant form.
The 2.76 ERA he’s posted in his 29 innings of work has been impressive, yes, but his peripherals suggest a pitching line that’s even better than that. In 2014 Soria has struck out more than 12 batters per nine innings, walked fewer than 1.5, and he’s yet to serve up a long ball. All of that has been good for a 0.80 FIP and 1.93 xFIP. He probably won’t continue pitching at that level — really no one does — but both the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems agree to a 2.86 rest-of-season ERA projection.
The history of elbow injury is a concern, but the Tigers would be buying mostly for this season and he would appear to be healthy at the moment. He wouldn’t be a pure rental, however, as his contract contains a $7 million team option for 2015 that would provide some additional value. Soria would be a good addition to the Tigers’ maligned bullpen, assuming the potential return package is nothing exorbitant.