A particularly interesting closer that many teams will be calling about is Joakim Soria of the Kansas City Royals. He hasn't had the best year and will likely command a huge signing fee if a team wants to hand him a contract extension for 2012.
Soria is a proven closer with the talent that a playoff bond team needs, the only questions are, can he handle the pressure of being on a competitive team and can he handle possibly being a setup man.
First, it's worth noting the teams in Joakim Soria's no-trade clause of his contract. Soria doesn't want to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves or Colorado Rockies. For the record, those are some oddly competitive teams not to want to be traded too.
It's not like they are all west or east coast. That worries me a tad, but in the end it means little. If one of those teams come knocking (And I promise one or more of them will), he will consider the trade.
I think several teams are a great fit for Soria and those teams include Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. Out of those teams, Soria would only close for the Cardinals. The Cardinals are desperate to add depth to their bullpen and would welcome Soria as their closer if that is what it took to acquire the former All-Star closer.
Plus, the move would be mild for Soria since he is already in Kansas City.
As for the other teams, the Texas Rangers make the next best fit. I like the Rangers because they would likely sign him to a three to four year extension and possibly move Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation next year.
Also, if Feliz fails this year, they need a backup.
Detroit is a long shot for a couple of reasons. First, they are in the same division as the Royals and secondly, they don't need a closer. Still, anything is possible and setting up Valverde would be a devastating one-two punch for the Tigers.
Then there is Minnesota, who already has Matt Capps and Joe Nathan. If Soria went to Minnesota, would he close? I think not to quote Yoda.
Gardenhire is loyal to Nathan and he has the job back, so unless he fails at it, Soria at best would be a setup man. Minnesota would be an excellent fit for Soria, although they are in the same division as the Royals.
The Yankees are in the running for anyone, but he would likely say no to that trade.
I not only expect Soria to get dealt, but I expect his new team to be the St. Louis Cardinals or the wild card, Texas Rangers. Minnesota will linger in the minds of analysts, but are a very far off long shot.