The Texas Rangers agreed on a trade that would send their closer Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for two pitching prospects Wednesday night.
Detroit gets a much needed piece to a struggling bullpen in Soria. In return, Texas received starting pitcher Jake Thompson and relief pitcher Corey Knebel. Both pitchers are right-handed and were looked at as top prospects in the Tigers organization. It was announced that Knebel will be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, and Thompson will head to Double-A Frisco.
Knebel made eight relief appearances for Detroit this season, allowing six earned runs in just 8 2/3 innings. Thompson had gone 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 18 starts for high class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie this season.
Soria, who served as the closer for Texas, recorded 17 saves and a 1-3 record with a 2.70 ERA in his second season as a Ranger after spending five years as the Kansas City closer.
Soria blew a 1-0 lead Tuesday night in the 13th inning against the Yankees which was just his second blown save of the year. Texas went on to lose the game by a final score of 2-1 in 14 innings.
Before blowing the save, Soria had been successful in his previous nine save opportunities. Last week Texas mentioned that they were open to trading several players who were entering the final year of their contracts. The Rangers had a club option on Soria at $15.7 million with a $500,000 buyout
It seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the Tigers went out and made some kind of move to help their bullpen which has been sub par this season. Detroit also expressed interest earlier yesterday in Astros closer Chad Qualls, but decided to make the trade with Texas and acquire Soria.
It is likely that Soria may will serve as a seventh or eighth inning guy, setting up for Joe Nathan to remain the Tigers closer. It is also likely that the Tigers are not done making moves, and this could just be one move to potentially set up for a bigger move before the trade deadline to improve their chances to make another World Series run.
There are also plenty of big names out on the market that Detroit and other teams may look to acquire before July 31st deadline. It will be interesting to see where players end up and how it may effect the playoff picture.