Pittsburgh Pirates bolster pen, acquire Joakim Soria from Tigers


After acquiring Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates struck again this evening by acquiring Joakim Soria from the Detroit Tigers. Neal Huntington and co. were looking to continue to upgrade the Pirate bullpen, as Tony Watson has had some rough outings lately, Antonio Bastardo and Arquimedes Caminero have not been pitching well this year, and Deolis Guerra is in his debut season in the majors after being a career minor leaguer. Tigers’ reporter James Schmehl was one of the first to break the news that the two teams were close on a deal.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the two teams were reviewing medical records.

Finally, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports called it a done deal.

Who are the Pirates sending back in return? Morosi said that it will be one minor leaguer.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted that SS/IF Jacoby Jones is going the other way.

MLB Pipeline had Jones ranked as the Pirates 12th-best prospect, while Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects had him as the Pirates’ 19th-best prospect.

And the Pirates are picking up the rest of Soria’s salary this season.

On the surface, this looks like a good move by the Pirates. For as much as many people want(ed) the Pirates to make a move for a first baseman, or a bench player, or a starting pitcher, one move most people were confident that the team would make would be for a relief pitcher. Soria is a veteran closer, and even though his best days of pitching were in Kansas City at the beginning of his career, he’s still been a positive win player every year of his career. Let’s take a peek at Soria’s career stats:

2008 ★KCR23.4001.6063574267.139131251916662602703.250.861
2010 ★KCR12.3331.7866564365.253131341617122702362.531.051
8 Yrs1920.4872.61415320201424.133013112336118114531817261633.041.056
162 Game Avg.33.4872.616852337054212061927432831633.041.056
KCR (5 yrs)1315.4642.40298239160315.12428984248763411312781812.901.043
TEX (2 yrs)23.4003.1661411757.043222021837022341292.151.070
DET (2 yrs)42.6673.2956402452.0452019101324232141214.891.115

He’s having a very good year this year, and knows how to pitch in high pressure situations. This season, he has a 2.85 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, has thrown 36 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. His FIP, however, is 4.85 in 2015, which is exactly two points higher than his ERA. This is a noticeable difference, and it’ll be interesting to see if Soria regresses at all moving forward. However, his career ERA of 2.61 and FIP of 3.04 means that any regression is far from guaranteed. It’s also important to note that Soria had Tommy John surgery in 2012.

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In terms of Soria’s contract, he’s a free agent after the season and is making $7 million this year. The Tigers won’t be eating any of Soria’s salary, so the Pirates’ payroll is near $100 million overall.

As for Jacoby Jones, it’s a decent price to pay for a rental player, but that’s been the way the market has been for pitching this season. Jones is 23 and has a line of .260/.319/.398 with 10 home runs and 60 RBIs this year, mostly in Bradenton, and was just promoted to Double-A. For his career, he has a .277/.336/.455 line, but has a whopping 259 Ks to just 68 BBs. He could be a decent major league hitter, but his future with the Pirates could have been blocked behind Jordy Mercer and Jung Ho Kang. In my opinion, he’s the perfect trade chip for a team like the Pirates.

This was a good move by Neal Huntington. Joakim Soira will most likely be the eighth inning option now, and will act as a second closer. Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, Joakim Soria, and Mark Melancon make a fantastic back-end of the bullpen. The Royals showed how important a great bullpen can be to a team’s success, and the Pirates are now shortening the game with this fantastic quartet.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates acquisition breakdown - Joe Blanton