NEW YORK — The first-place Detroit Tigers reinforced the back end of their shaky bullpen Wednesday night, acquiring closer Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for pitching prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson.
The trade was completed during the Rangers’ rain-shortened 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees. Soria said he was informed of the pending deal during the delay, and the Rangers announced the move after the game.
By the time Soria spoke to reporters in the clubhouse, all of his Rangers jerseys had been removed from his locker.
“I’m going to a new team. It’s going to be my new family. I’m going to do whatever they want me to do,” Soria said. “I just want to help them win the World Series. That’s what it’s all about, and I hope I can help out as much as I can.”
Soria is 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 17 saves in 19 chances during his first full season since 2011. Detroit has been looking to upgrade a relief corps that ranked 12th out of 15 American League teams with a 4.37 ERA.
“It’s a great team. It’s a contending team,” said Soria, a two-time All-Star with Kansas City. “I’m going to talk to them and see what’s going on when I get there. I know they’re going to Anaheim, so I’ll probably go there.”
Soria moves from the last-place Rangers to the AL Central-leading Tigers and gets reunited with Joe Nathan, the closer he replaced in Texas this season. Nathan, who was with the Rangers from 2012-13, has a 5.89 ERA and 20 saves in 25 tries this year for Detroit.
Texas signed Soria to an $8 million, two-year contract before last season as he was recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. The deal included a $7 million club option for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.
Both pitchers were signed by Tigers scout Tim Grieve, son of former Rangers player, general manager and current broadcaster Tom Grieve.
Photo via USA Today Sports Images