Texas Rangers rumors: Joakim Soria, the closer for the Texas Rangers, is the subject of ongoing discussions between the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers, per Jon Paul Morosi:
Tigers are having ongoing discussions with the Rangers about reliever Joakim Soria, sources say. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 18, 2014
This should not be surprising. The Rangers are in "sell" mode, and while Soria has a team-friendly option for 2015, the bullpen is an area where you would think the Rangers would be more willing to use internal options, enabling them to allocate funds elsewhere.
As we discussed this morning, T.R. Sullivan was on Buster Olney's podcast talking about the Rangers' willingness to deal Soria, and said that the Rangers would be looking for a return similar to what they got for Ugueth Urbina in 2003, when they sent Urbina to the Florida Marlins for Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Snare and Will Smith -- basically, one very good prospect and a couple of lesser prospects.
And the Tigers make perfect sense, as they are in "win now" mode, and they current closer, Joe Nathan, has been exceptionally shaky this season.
The problem with doing a deal with the Tigers is that their farm system isn't exactly stacked. John Sickels' mid-season top 75 prospect list didn't include any Tigers, and only three Tiger prsopects -- pitchers Corey Knebel, Robbie Ray and Jake Thompson -- were in the "also receiving consideration" group.
Knebel is a reliever who was the Tigers' first round pick out of the University of Texas last season. He has split the 2014 season between AA, AAA and the majors, and he's a hard thrower who has struck out and walked a lot of batters as a pro. I can see the Rangers being interested in Knebel, but I don't see him as the primary piece in a deal for Soria.
Robbie Ray is a lefthander who the Tigers acquired in the offseason from Washington in the Doug Fister trade. He has a 3.95 ERA in AAA this year, and has also appeared in four games for the Tigers. Given that the Rangers are apparently looking to acquire pitchers who can contribute to the 2015 rotation, Ray would seem to be a fit, if we assume that Texas actually, you know, likes Ray enough to want him to be a key piece in a Soria deal.
Jake Thompson is a Texan the Tigers took in the second round of the 2012 draft, and he's currently performing well in the high-A Florida State League. Thompson is just 20, and is likely a couple of seasons away, but he's someone you'd think the Rangers would covet in a deal like this.
Of course, those guys are players the Tigers likely are going to be reluctant to part with, even for a guy like Soria who has the shiny "closer" tag on him. I have a hard time pegging what Soria is really going to be worth in the trade market, so I'm reluctant to say, package X is what the Rangers should get for him. But those are the names that are probably worth keeping an eye on here.
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