DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers had to do something about their bullpen and late Wednesday night they did.
The Tigers have acquired right-handed reliever Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson. With the addition of Soria, the Tigers now have the last two closers for the Texas Rangers including Joe Nathan who was signed in the offseason.
Soria, 30, is 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 17 saves this season as the Rangers closer. He has an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.5 and is averaging 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He leads all pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched with a 1.07 FIP. Soria is signed through the 2014 season, but also carries a $7 million club option for 2015.
The Tigers’ bullpen has the fifth-worst ERA in all of baseball this season.
Knebel and Thompson have been considered two of the Tigers top pitching prospects prior to the trade. Knebel, 22, is a right-handed reliever that shot up through the Tigers’ system after being drafted 39th overall in last year’s draft. He spent last year closing for the West Michigan Whitecaps, going 2-1 with 15 saves and a 0.67 ERA. Knebel made his major league debut this season with the Tigers on May 24. In eight appearances with the Tigers, Knebel allowed six earned runs in 8 2/3 innings pitched, but also struck out 11 against just three walks.
Thompson, 20, is a right-handed starting pitching prospect who was drafted by the Tigers in the second round of the 2012 draft. He pitched for the Whitecaps in 2013, going 3-3 in 16 starts with a 3.13 ERA and averaged 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Thompson was just promoted to Double-A Erie this season after starring in the MLB Futures Game in Minneapolis. Thompson was credited with the win after striking out the two batters he faced on just eight pitches.
The Tigers start a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. They currently hold a 6.5 games lead over Cleveland in the AL Central division.