Jul 29, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joakim Soria (38) pitches in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Joakim Soria
After arriving from Texas near the trading deadline last year, Joakim Soria was greeted as a savior. The back end of the Tigers’ bullpen was a mess. Joba Chamberlain had started the season strong, but was faltering post All-Star Break and Joe Nathan never got it started, so Soria’s arrival meant he’d move into one of those roles, right?
Soria had no clear role from the start as the Tigers’ brass seemed inexplicably willing to move Joba and/or Nathan out. This led to a rather uncharacteristic bad stretch for Soria. It is almost as if the Tigers seem cursed in the bullpen and anyone they use always implodes.
Eventually he settled in to his role, or lack thereof. After allowing six runs in his first three appearances, and missing time due to injury, Soria allowed just one run in his final 10 regular season appearances. He got knocked around in ALDS Game 2, but really he came into an impossible situation left by Chamberlain.
Throughout his seven-year career, he has excelled except for 2011 in Kansas City when arm troubles pushed him into Tommy John Surgery. He has a career ERA of 2.58 and 1.057 WHIP.
It’s also a contract year for him so expect him to be a lock-down 8th inning option throughout this season.