Joakim Soria Rumors

Rangers’ Relievers Drawing Interest

9:13pm: Texas wants a “substantial package” to move Soria, report T.R. Sullivan and Grace Raynor of MLB.com. The asking price is believed to be two or three prospects.

1:51pm: The Rangers are receiving trade interest in a number of their bullpen arms, according to multiple reports. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the team is listening on right-hander Jason Frasor and lefty Neal Cotts, and both have generated some interest. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Angels, Blue Jays and Tigers have been in contact with the Rangers about closer Joakim Soria (Twitter link).

As Sullivan points out, both Frasor and Cotts are free agents at season’s end. While Frasor has scuffled of late, yielding five runs over his past 3 1/3 innings, he still boasts a solid 3.38 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate. The 36-year-old is earning a highly affordable $1.75MM this season, meaning that he’s owed about $765K through season’s end.

Cotts, 34, reemerged in the Majors last season after an absence of four years and put his injury woes behind him with an electric 1.11 ERA in 57 innings for Texas. He’s taken a step back in 2014 but has a solid 3.55 ERA with 45 strikeouts against 15 walks in 38 innings. However, after dominating opposing lefties in 2013, he’s surrendered a .281/.328/.456 batting line against same-handed hitters in 2014. It shouldn’t come as a total shock, as Cotts does have a reverse-platoon split for his career, but certainly not one this pronounced. Cotts is earning $2.2MM this season, meaning he has roughly $962K remaining on his deal.

As for Soria, the Tigers and Angels come as no surprise, as both have dealt with significant bullpen issues in 2014. However, the Blue Jays are a bit of a surprise club to see listed here. In another series of tweets, Rosenthal adds that while the club does like Soria, the team is also toying with the idea of promoting top prospect Aaron Sanchez to work out of the bullpen this season. Fellow top prospect Daniel Norris could even join him eventually, Rosenthal adds, making for a situation that would resemble the dynamic pairing of Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez with the Cardinals last year.

Soria is in the midst of one of perhaps his finest season. In his second year back from Tommy John, the 30-year-old has a 2.76 ERA with a whopping 12.3 K/9 and a minuscule 1.2 BB/9 in 29 1/3 innings. Sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (0.80), xFIP (1.93) and SIERA (1.58) all feel that he’s doing the best work of his career. Though he has a higher salary at $5.5MM, Soria unquestionably will come with the highest asking price in a trade. He has an affordable $7MM club option on his contract for 2015, and the Rangers do have eyes on contending next season, when they hope to have better luck on the injury front.


Rangers Have Considered Dealing Joe Nathan

SUNDAY: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets the Rangers are having more than internal talks and are shopping Nathan for an established hitter. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes Nathan would have great value on the trade market, but most teams that would want him wouldn't be in position to part with the type of hitter the Rangers need.  

SATURDAY: The Rangers have had internal conversations about trading closer Joe Nathan, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports, citing major league sources who say such a move would be aimed at taking advantage of the Rangers' deep bullpen and this year's thin relief pitching market. Nathan would immediately become the top closer on offer if the Rangers decide to shop him, Rosenthal says, placing him ahead of the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon, who may not even be traded.

The move would open new trade possibilities for the Rangers, who have been frustrated in their attempts to acquire pieces to bolster their lineup, which ranks ninth in the AL in runs per game. After dropping 11 of their last 14 games, Texas' situation has grown more urgent, Rosenthal observes. He names the Tigers, Red Sox and Dodgers as teams known to be in the market for late-inning bullpen pieces.

Former Royals closer Joakim Soria could step into the same role for Texas, according to Rosenthal's sources, and Texas pitcher Neftali Feliz, a former closer in his own right, is also expected to return from Tommy John surgery in about a month's time. In addition, Alexi Ogando, who's currently in the rotation, could slide into a late-inning role for Texas after starter Matt Harrison returns from the DL, so the back end of the Texas bullpen could remain a strength even if they do decide to trade Nathan.

Nathan, 38, has a sparkling 1.73 ERA this year in 41 2/3 innings, posting a 9.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. His contract has him earning about $2.5MM on the remainder of the season and also includes a $9MM club option for next year, though Nathan can choose to void the option and become a free agent if he finishes 55 games. He has already finished 39 games this year.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Central Rumors: Stewart, Revere, Victorino, Soria

The latest from around the AL Central…

  • Despite the fact that the Twins are looking to give Trevor Plouffe some competition at third base, Ian Stewart isn't a match with the team, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III (on Twitter).
  • Ben Revere's name has surfaced as a possible trade candidate, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Revere became the Twins' projected center field starter with the trade of Denard Span to the Nationals, so Morosi believes Minnesota might need to get a center field back in order to move Revere.
  • The Indians offered four years and $44MM to Shane Victorino, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Victorino ultimately chose a three-year, $39MM offer from Boston, but it shows that the Indians have some money to spend.
  • The Royals' offer was "not even close to what I was looking for," new Rangers setup man Joakim Soria told reporters including MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez on a conference call today.  Soria landed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Rangers.
  • The White Sox continue to have dialogue with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
  • We had a few Tigers rumors yesterday also.    


Rangers Sign Joakim Soria

Despite ranking as one of the best closers in baseball from 2007-10, Joakim Soria will try his hand at setting up Joe Nathan in 2013.  Soria, 28, officially signed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Rangers today.  The contract includes a club option for 2015.  The longtime Royals closer had Tommy John surgery in April, and the team declined his $8MM club option.  Soria is represented by Oscar Suarez.

Uspw_5362472Soria owns a 2.40 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 160 saves in 315 1/3 career innings.  The Royals picked him up in the 2006 Rule 5 draft, and he ranks third among franchise saves leaders.  The Rangers had a need for a late-inning addition, having lost Mike Adams and Koji Uehara to free agency and Alexi Ogando to the rotation.

The Angels, Reds, and Red Sox are among the other teams that expressed interest in Soria, who ranked 37th on MLBTR's top 50 free agents list.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports initially broke the story.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.


AL West Notes: Rangers, Mariners, LaRoche, Angels

An ex-Ranger is heading to the AL East, as Mike Napoli and the Red Sox agreed to a three-year contract earlier today. However, there's still plenty of activity going on out west, so let's round up a few items from the AL West….

  • The Mariners and Rangers sound like the two biggest suitors besides the Nationals for Adam LaRoche, says Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
  • As the Angels eye Sean Burnett, they continue to have interest in other relief options, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). Mike Adams remains a possibility, and the team also checked in on Joakim Soria, though he wants to close.
  • The Mariners remain open to signing a defensive catcher, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com.
  • The Mariners had "no idea" that the Red Sox were closing in on an agreement with Napoli, GM Jack Zduriencik tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.

Rangers Close To Deal With Joakim Soria

The Rangers are close to a two-year deal with reliever Joakim Soria, tweet Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The contract is thought to be worth $8-9MM, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The longtime Royals closer had Tommy John surgery in April, and the team declined his $8MM club option.

Soria, 28, owns a 2.40 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 160 saves in 315 1/3 career innings.  The Royals picked him up in the 2006 Rule 5 draft, and he ranks third among franchise saves leaders.


Reds In Serious Talks With Jonathan Broxton

The Reds are in serious talks about a three-year deal for free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The deal could cover more than three years, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests (on Twitter).

Broxton, a client of Jet Sports Management, ranked 45th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents. The 28-year-old spent the 2012 season pitching for the Royals and Reds. In 58 innings of relief he posted a 2.48 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 53.8% ground ball rate. Broxton appeared in just 14 games in 2011, but he underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery in September of 2011 and recovered to post an average fastball velocity of 94.7 mph this past season.

If the Reds agree to a deal with Broxton, it would play a role in shaping the rest of their pitching staff. Moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation would be easier if Broxton returns. If the Reds don't add a late inning reliever such as Broxton or Ryan Madson, it will be more difficult to replace Chapman's high leverage relief innings. The Reds also had expressed interest in free agent right-hander Joakim Soria, Rosenthal reports.


Jocketty Discusses Reds Offseason Rumors

Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…

  • The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan.  Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
  • Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria.  Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery.  The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
  • The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said.  The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players."  The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
  • Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped.  "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
  • The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract.  "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.”  Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Upton, Rays, Youkilis, Dodgers

Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • The Rangers continue to insist that they will not trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Justin Upton, which could allow the Rays to emerge as the front-runner. They could offer the Diamondbacks James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson in addition to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.
  • The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
  • The Orioles and Nationals are still engaged in a dispute over money received from MASN — both clubs own the network, but Baltimore's stake is nearly 90% — though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said that will not limit the club's ability to spend.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is not concerned about finding a pure closer. He intends to add the best bullpen arms he can and let things figure themselves out.
  • A rival executive told Rosenthal that he expects Dan Haren to sign with the Padres. Haren is a West Coast guy and Padres GM Josh Byrnes originally acquired him from the Athletics while running the Diamondbacks a few years ago.
  • “Like him. Don’t love him," said a Red Sox official when asked about Adam LaRoche. Boston is reportedly pursuing the first baseman.
  • Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Both right-handers are coming off Tommy John surgery.

AL Central Notes: Tigers, Sanchez, Soria, Bonderman

The latest out of the AL Central..

  • The price for Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez could be going up, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Sanchez asked one team for $90MM across six years and another for $100MM over seven years, according to Heyman.
  • Joakim Soria has received interest from the Red Sox, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The Royals declined their $8MM option for Soria on Halloween, but the right-hander has said that re-signing with Kansas City would be good for him and his family.
  • More from Morosi (via Twitter), who hears from sources that the Tigers have offered Jeremy Bonderman a contract.  Bonderman hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but he says that his arm feels good following reconstructive surgery.
  • The Royals announced that they have signed first baseman Ian Gac and outfielder Luis Durango to minor league contracts.  Durango spent last season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate, hitting .289/.352/.335 in 565 plate appearances.