Joakim Soria Trade Exactly What Texas Rangers Need

Trey Warren@treydwarrenContributor IIIJuly 24, 2014

Texas Rangers relief pitcher Joakim Soria (28) and catcher Chris Gimenez (60) congratulate each other after a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, June 6, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-4. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers have reportedly acquired right-handed pitcher Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, per Scout.com’s Kyle Bogenschutz.

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi confirmed the report shortly after in this tweet:

The deal couldn’t be better for Texas, which received two prospects from Detroit. Both players, right-handers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, are rated as two of the Tigers' top prospects and help fill a Rangers system that lacks quality pitching.

On July 22, I wrote that Soria was one of three players who could potentially be shipped off by MLB’s July 31 trade deadline. While he has been successful in the ninth inning for the club, the 30-year-old was set to be a free agent and was one of a few players Texas could get a quality return for.

Thompson is rated as the Tigers' No. 3 prospect by MLB.com and was recently promoted to Double-A Erie. Between High-A and Double-A, the 20-year-old is 7-4 in 18 starts with a 3.04 ERA and 86 strikeouts. MLB.com explains below what kind of stuff the Texas native has:

Thompson could have three solid or better pitches when all is said and done. He usually works at 90-93 mph with good sink and tail on his fastball. When his curveball is on, it features power and depth and gives him a second plus offering. He also has nice feel for his changeup.

The other prospect the Rangers received is Knebel, who is rated No. 5 in Detroit's system by MLB.com. Unlike Thompson, Knebel is seen as a future late-inning pitcher whose fastball can hit 98 mph.

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The former Texas Longhorn made his debut on May 24 and has struggled to the tune of 11 hits and six earned runs in 8.2 innings. Here is a portion of MLB.com’s profile on Knebel:

Knebel definitely has the weapons and competitive makeup with which to close games. His fastball ranges from 91-98 mph with tailing action, and he uses his height to throw it on a downhill plane. When he stays on top of his curveball, it can be just as nasty as his heater, arriving in the low 80s with sharp downward break.

This is a big win for the Rangers. The club gets great return for an aging closer in the final year of his contract. Soria could have been brought back on a $7 million team option that includes a $500,000 buyout.

Now the Rangers have a couple more options for the future of their bullpen and rotation. Trades and injuries depleted a once-magnificent farm system, but this trade helps improve it. Both Thompson and Knebel join Texas' Luke Jackson and Alex Gonzalez as pitchers who could see extended time in the big leagues next season.

With the club 22 games back in the AL West, younger players should start seeing some time in the coming months—especially young hurlers whose parent club has the worst run differential in baseball.

All stats courtesy of MiLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren