Joakim Soria Rumors

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.

AL West Notes: Hamilton, Fujikawa, Soria, Ryu

Josh Hamilton's asking price of seven years and $175MM is too rich for the Mariners' blood, but if that price drops to $80-85MM over four or five years, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times feels the M's should make a play for the outfielder.  We heard yesterday that the Mariners were interested in Hamilton, as the club continues to pursue free agent hitters for the less pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

Some more news from around the AL West…

  • Angels GM Jerry DiPoto said that his team is interested in Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa and that the feeling is apparently mutual, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.  Fujikawa has been considered to be Japan's top closer for the better part of a decade and is available to be signed without a posting fee.  The Dodgers and Red Sox have also been rumored to be interested in Fujikawa.
  • The Rangers apparently made a posting bid on Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, reports Evan P. Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter), though he doesn't have full confirmation.  Teams had until 4PM CT today to place a bid on Ryu, and if the KBO's Hanwha Eagles accepted the highest bid, Ryu and agent Scott Boras could then negotiate a contract with that MLB team.
  • The Rangers are interested in right-hander Joakim Soria, reports FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link).  At least eight teams have checked in on the former Royals closer thus far, and Soria has also said he would be happy to pitch for the Yankees as Mariano Rivera's set-up man.
  • The Astros project to have a very low payroll in 2013, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Houston's payroll could be around $30MM, a big drop from the Padres' $55.2MM league-low payroll on Opening Day 2012, though Rosenthal notes that the MLBPA and Commissioner's Office aren't likely to object given that the Astros are in the first stages of a major rebuild.

Soria Would Set Up For Yanks; Eight Others Interested

Oscar Suarez, the agent for Joakim Soria, has received calls from eight contending teams expressing interest in his client, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. Suarez has yet to hear from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, but says that Soria would be more than willing to pitch in a setup role for his idol, Mariano Rivera:

"If the Yankees call, we will be all ears," Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, said by phone Monday. "If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there."

Suarez tells Marchand that Soria is "not a greedy individual," and he could envision his client signing quickly if the right situation arises. Soria's preference is to sign with a contending team. According to Suarez, Soria will be able to participate in Spring Training but is unlikely to pitch in a Major League game until May next season.

The 28-year-old Soria underwent Tommy John surgery prior to Opening Day 2012. He stumbled to a 4.03 ERA in 2011 but still owns a career 2.40 mark with a 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 315 1/3 innings with the Royals. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Soria as the 37th-best free agent this offseason and predicted that he'll re-sign with the Royals. You can predict Soria's destination yourself in MLBTR's Free Agent Prediction Contest.


Royals Decline Option For Joakim Soria

The Royals announced that they've declined their 2013 option for Joakim Soria. The reliever, who missed the entire 2012 season to undergo Tommy John surgery, is now a free agent. He obtains a $750K buyout instead of an $8MM salary.

Soria established himself as an elite reliever in the five seasons preceding 2012. Though he struggled in 2011, his career numbers are excellent — a 3.40 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 298 total appearances. If the Royals had exercised his 2013 option they would have kept the rights to a 2014 option valued at $8.75MM.