Seattle Mariners Trade a Day- Joakim Soria
Over the past few days, Mariners fans have become aware that the team has a problem, the bullpen. More specifically, the middle of the pen. Today, we look at a reliever who could fill the gap, and what it might cost to acquire him.
The Mariners are fortunate to have Edwin Diaz. They are also fortunate to see the true potential of James Pazos. Chasen Bradford has surprised many. Beyond that, the Mariners bullpen has been…okay.
Certainly, they have names with solid track records. If Alex Colome, Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent pitch like we know they have in the past, Seattle has one of the better bullpens in the American League.
Unfortunately, Nicasio and Vincent have missed time with injury, and Nicasio has been flat out ineffective at times. Colome has struggled against the AL East. Vincent has been solid but was roughed up in his return from the DL.
The Mariners have insisted on carrying 8 relievers all season, and if they wish to continue, they’ll need to add quality arms to iron out any potential weak links. Enter Joakim Soria: professional quality arm.
The 34-year-old righty, Soria is currently saving games for the 25-50 Chicago White Sox. Due a minimum of roughly $6 million for the rest of 2018, plus $1 million for a buyout in 2019, the White Sox have little reason to keep an older reliever like Soria.
Soria has been excellent for Chicago so far in 2018. He has posted a 2.89 ERA and 2.38 FIP in 28 innings pitched. In those innings, Soria has 32 strikeouts while handing out a minuscule 5 walks. He has also collected 11 saves.
Dipoto loves strike throwers, and Soria’s better than 6:1 K/BB ratio fits that mold and then some. Soria does have a team option worth $10 million for 2019, so Dipoto’s hesitancy to acquire rentals should be somewhat subdued.
Soria isn’t just having a good 2018. He had a nearly equally as impressive 2017 season for Kansas City. His 2018 K/9 is identical to his 2017 mark (10.3 K/9) and his FIP was actually better in 2017 (2.23).
Over the past year and a half, Soria has almost refused to give up home runs, sporting a microscopic 0.4 HR/9 in that time frame. Interestingly enough, Soria ground ball rate has actually dropped significantly in 2018, from 54.8% in 2017 to 38.5% in 2018. It hasn’t hurt his home run rate much.
So now that we have established just how good Soria is, it is time to talk about the cost. Considering that Soria is 34-years-old and that he has just 3 months of club control (pending the option), the cost for Soria could be to the Mariners liking. So here is our proposal:
The Seattle Mariners trade Matthew Festa to Chicago for Joakim Soria.
Losing Festa isn’t easy. The former starter has become a rare 4 pitch reliever, all of which are average or above-average. The Mariners have great depth in the minors in terms of relievers. Between Festa, Art Warren, Wyatt Mills, and Seth Elledge, there are prospects that other teams could covet as Seattle looks for veteran relievers.
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Trading Festa, who is currently in AA Arkansas, for Soria is definitely a win-now move. Festa could be MLB ready by the start of 2019, and giving up 6 years of a potential 7th inning guy for 3 months (or 1.5 years) of Soria isn’t easy. But it might be necessary to help the Mariners break their playoff drought.