The Mariners are the latest team to show interest in free agent reliever Joakim Soria, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets. Seattle joins the Twins, Blue Jays, and all four of the Mariners’ AL West rivals as teams linked to Soria’s market at some point during the offseason.
Naturally, the entire AL West got a good look at Soria when he pitched for the Athletics in 2019-20, and the amount of interest isn’t surprising considering how Soria has continued to deliver results as he approaches his age-37 season. Soria posted a 2.82 ERA over 22 1/3 innings in 2020 and did a very good job of keeping the ball in the park (one home run allowed) and limiting hard contact (particularly in terms of barrel percentage). On the flip side, Soria’s 25K% was middle of the pack, his 10.4 BB% ranked only in the 31st percentile, and his 4.36 SIERA painted a much less impressive picture than his ERA.
Still, even with some expected regression baked in, Soria’s track record of durability is solid enough that a team can expect him to be a positive addition to a bullpen. Soria worked in a setup role in Oakland and would likely assume similar duties on his next team — though it has been some time since his heyday as a closer with the Royals, Soria could also be called upon for the occasional save opportunity if need be.
The bullpen has been more or less the primary focus of the Mariners’ offseason thus far, as the M’s have acquired Rafael Montero from the Rangers, signed Keynan Middleton, and re-signed Kendall Graveman. Adding Soria would add an even more experienced and durable relief arm to the mix, perhaps a wise investment considering that Montero, Middleton, and Graveman have all undergone Tommy John surgery within the last three years.