The “Mexicutioner” could be back in Detroit. According to Tony Paul and The Detroit News, Joakim Soria has expressed interest in returning to the Detroit Tigers closer position. He was traded at the deadline in July when Dave Dombrowski last cleaned house. Soria has been closing ball games for eight years and his highest salary was the $7 million he received in 2015.
Jul 22, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws the ball against the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. The Cubs won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
The trouble comes with the fact that the Tigers are not the only team with bullpen issues and there are so few closers and quality bullpen pitchers available. There will be plenty of organizations that will want Soria and have the money to pay him. There are just a few other closers in the free agency market that could be possibilities for Detroit. Pitchers like Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson and Aroldis “Cuban Missile” Chapman have been mentioned as possible Tigers closers for 2016.
Rumor has it that Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2015, but the fact that he is 40 years old and coming off of Tommy John surgery makes him an unlikely candidate to fill the ninth-inning position in Detroit. He did not endear himself to the fan base, which is actually a big deal in Detroit where fans will pay to sit in the seats at Comerica Park to see their favorite players (keyword being “favorite”).
With the current pieces in the bullpen, it is obvious that Al Avila will need to do something to shore up the leaks. Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Drew Verhagen cannot do it alone. Soria has moved around the league for a few years and he might be ready to settle down in one spot with a multi-year deal. Chapman and his 100+ MPH fastball would be an interesting addition, especially since his salary was about the same as Soria’s in 2015. Ryan Madson would be more affordable than Soria or Chapman, but he is also a few years older. Soria has proven to be a steady closer, but Chapman brings excitement to the mound with that seriously intimidating fastball.
If I were sitting in Avila’s chair, I would put my money on the Cuban Missile and that fastball.