Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tigers Acquire Joakim Soria from Rangers for Prospects

The addition of Joakim Soria bolsters the Tigers bullpen
(Photo credit: Zimbio.com)

It was obvious to any fan watching the Tigers this year that they desperately needed help in the bullpen and they addressed the problem in a big way tonight by acquiring right-handed reliever Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers (first reported by Kyle Bogie of Scout.com).  The Tigers had to give up two of the best pitching prospects in the system to get him - starter Jake Thompson and reliever Corey Knebel.  

Two years removed from Tommy John Surgery, the 30-year-old Soria is once again one of the best relievers in the game posting a 2.70 ERA and fantastic 42/4 strikeout to walk ratio in 33 1/3 innings so far this year.  He has not allowed a home run and leads all major league relievers with a 1.07 FIP.

I would guess that Soria will set up the struggling Joe Nathan initially, but could end up as the Tigers closer pretty quickly, maybe as quickly as Nathan's next blown save.  Soria will most likely be more than just two-month rental as the Tigers now hold a $7 million option for 2015 which they will almost surely pick up.

The hard-throwing Knebel, a supplemental first round pick in 2013, moved very quickly through the system making it to the majors for a couple of stints this year.  He was viewed as a potential future closer, but he was not ready to make any impact on Tigers this year.   Jake Thompson was a second round pick in 2012 and has impressed enough to make it to Double-A Erie at age 20.  

Both Knebel and Thompson were consensus top five prospects in the Tigers minor league system, so it was a steep price to pay, but Soria is one of the most dominant relievers in the business.  I approve of this trade.   

15 comments:

  1. I find the trade to be rather depressing and I happened to like both of those pitching prospects very much. I don't care that Knebel's stats for the majors are spiked right now because he looked really special to me, but oh well Soria is a good pitcher so congrats to us for that and hopefully he can keep up the great numbers!

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    1. AnonymousJuly 24, 2014

      Yes, I concur and Nathan's inconsistency has brought that upon our Tigers.

      I certainly do not agree with that trade.

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    2. Yeah it's just more of the same of selling out the young prospects to pick up more short-term veterans and I just don't like ever seeing that happen, unless it was a different situation where the core of our foundation was more outstanding in comparison to the competition.

      Pretty much a no-brainer trade for Texas though, and gives them flexibility to use them or trade them later while saving money in the meantime since they otherwise would have only been wasting Soria. They are really in a lousy spot right now, they need to figure out what the heck they are doing and if they are going to compete next year or not, and if not then they should be trying to make a lot more trades and sort things out before waiting for the next season to come by and be a disaster. It's time for them to list their players by largest salaries to smallest and to get on the phone and find out who else they can sell to one of the "several contenders" out there.

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  2. Can anybody cite even one prospect that Dombrowski has dealt away who ended up having a significant MLB career? I can't. I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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    1. Everybody he has traded had value at the time he pawned them off, and regardless of whether any of them were good or bad players in the future, the problem with his trades has been the choices of what that value has been converted into, and the lack of trading others that we could have capitalized on instead of paying giant salaries to rent and not find a profitable exit strategy. There have been countless trades and wastes during his regime that any kind of detailed accounting of transactions would look absolutely dreadful except from the perspective of another that chooses to have a philosophy referring to them as "good trades".

      There were better ways to build and assemble a team than the structure he has chosen to build. If you want to backtrack all of his moves we could easily get into several hundreds of millions of dollars of lost value that has been forgone of which could have been created and realized instead. We took on massive inefficiency of epic proportions instead of achieving the converse of that in the forms of winning glory and profit.

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    2. AnonymousJuly 25, 2014

      I think you are on to something. Please proceed and backtrack all of his moves so we can easily see the massive inefficiency of epic proportions in regards to winning glory. I feel this will settle the argument once and for all.

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    3. That would definitely make for an interesting conversation but unfortunately it's far from practical for the following key reasons:

      1) It would take many hours to do this, and I have zero interest in doing that as a sub-reply to a question on an unrelated topic and on somebody else's blog. It would be a tremendous time investment just to answer the simple inquiry, and there's no defined purpose for me to do so. I don't need to convince myself of my own beliefs and it would be a naturally very time consuming activity to examine such a case and discuss it with no expectation of having an efficient and logical conversation to even try to settle the debate. For one your inquiry implies sarcasm, and for two this conversation will be buried in the near future and I may not even ever hear from you again in addition to not knowing who you are. I have no interest in convincing anybody of this kind of a debate unless there is some reason to believe that would serve a functional purpose to warrant the effort to debate it.

      2) For many years I have been blogging complaints about the Tigers and thus far nearly 100% of the audience has given me feedback that they don't want to hear it. Many aren't interested in what they perceive in their minds to be incessant negativity while mostly believing that I'm crazy or have no idea what I'm talking about. I have no verifiable credible and relevant audience to make that presentation to in a format such as here and now.

      3) It's a one-sided presentation to construct and the value in it would be in handling objections that are raised by whoever is in the audience, which is why such an activity in actuality only makes sense live and with a person that can ask questions as I build everything out for them so they can understand the methodology. For example, I am highly confident that if I start showing what I believe our winning percentage would be throughout my examples that virtually anybody would not buy in because they aren't used to the frame of mind of understanding how much higher winning percentages can be achieved in baseball if you are strategically sound. That's because they don't have the luxury of having walked in my shoes and seen every detail that I have seen coupled with my unique ability for understanding logic and strategy and how that manifests itself through all the designed inputs.

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    4. 4) We would have to track all the money so it could be separated by actual total cash going out to pay salaries matched up with how much total revenue/profit that is coming in. I would only be able to guesstimate what the revenues would increase to based upon winning more games/titles without researching a lot of financial data, so to make the numbers perfectly accurate isn't feasible since there's no formula one can turn to that says if our win totals changed by such and such and we won "x" number of titles at this time versus that time this is how much profit that is worth. It's mathematical logic so it doesn't matter if you have the exact numbers anyhow since winning many more games and titles is inherently only a good thing. That's why it would make more sense for the audience who is forming objections to not allow me to guess at what I think that money is worth, I'd rather go with a smaller number that makes sense to them so they can see more credible inputs to go along with the case presentation so they can get the point with less assumptions that they don't feel check out as credible. Once that audience member settles on what those wins are worth in their mind, then you could use trial and error to show how the money changes as you change how many titles are won in those last 10 years and there's endless scenarios to look at to analyze and discuss within the possibility sets. For argument's sake let's say a perfect future of 10 years could net a billion extra dollars, and a tiny improvement minimum of only $1MM. Well then there could be a theoretical potential for 100 results of $10MM increments. I could simply say well the expected value or my guess for which one we would have achieved is this, but it's immaterial for me to know that for myself. I'd rather the audience member jumble those 100 numbers in the way that makes most sense to them, that way they are picking the 1/100 that is MOST credible to them and not possibly the least relatable one. All those numbers are good to me and I'm not going to care what the number is since I'm automatically programmed in any event to just simply make the most strategic baseball transactions I can make regardless of how big that number keeps climbing.

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    5. 5) There's no way to show an exact science as to precisely how our roster would have changed, and there's no way for the audience to know that I'm not lying when I say oh I would have definitely acquired such and such prospect when they were cheap and I thought they were good and nobody else did. I don't have a diary over the last 10 years that has publicly documented all my baseball opinions each and every day. The only way I could build out a 10 year map from the beginning would be to rely on my own memory of knowing who and when I would have targeted for certain players or types of players. To me that's not very conceptually difficult since I know what players I was higher on than others and the transactions I forecast for myself are only based upon what I believe I could and would have made happen in actuality which is another debate in itself. Those specifics are immaterial to me since the logic of the cycling of filling positions and managing the trade-offs is where the key to the art is at from a configuration perspective. So if I forecast getting a LF but in reality I got a 3B instead on that given day, well then naturally the next move is getting a LF instead of a 3B. Swapping the order wouldn't make things that different since any way you slice it I'm going to fill both of those positions and only with player types that I have identified are efficient values to get a lot of output leverage. And from players that I have picked over the years, one could call it luck or great scouting, but I happen to have had a fantastic track record consistently over the years so I know in each of those last 10 years there's an abundance of strategic acquisitions out there and I would have got some and not others but in any event enough to make my conceptual plan hold water the way I want it to be since I had firsthand experience to know there were plenty of players available that I liked that I feel we could have got. I feel that I'm a gifted scout in picking out baseball or football players, and I feel I have a unique advantage in understanding how to interpret statistics to find some of those strategic value players which helps building a strategic foundation easier to maintain and lock down for the long-term. Even in conservative scenarios if I throw in some disasters that blow up in my face our future would have been magnificently improved. Any person that ever comes about to seeing the things the way I see them would literally go ballistic when they see how it all fits together, and that's why I've been very pissed off for years, because all I see is gross incompetence and negligence to sickeningly horrifying levels when I compare what our reality would be today if I was in charge for those last 10 years.

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    6. I feel extremely confident that we would be in a spot today that is relatively spot-on with matching up to what I could build out if we literally did a 10 year backtrack and that's the perspective I am operating from when I judge and evaluate what our team does.

      So there you go, there's a few things for food-for-thought just so you don't think I'm trying to blow you off. I've wanted nothing more in the last 10 years from this Tigers team to have a meeting with somebody like Mr. Illitch and actually spend all these hours together and showing him how this all works as I see it and so in spirit I would love nothing more than to actually do something like this if it were purposeful and practical. So hopefully you understand why it's not practical to respond with precisely what you were asking for, but great and interesting question anyhow!

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  3. AnonymousJuly 26, 2014

    The audience you desire is won by facts. People are not unwilling to listen to logic, especially if they are here. No one believes that Dombrowski's decisions are beyond reproach. Try to offer even a shred of evidence if you don't want an audience that believes you're a posturing blowhard.

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  4. Well, gee, I got a lot of replies, none of which actually addressed the question I asked: "Can anybody cite even one prospect that Dombrowski has dealt away who ended up having a significant MLB career?" In that nobody apparently can cite even one, I will stand by my earlier statement that it is way too soon to condemn this trade.

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  5. Opus, I also can't think of any prospect he has traded away that I'd really want back in a big way. The Cody Ross and Jason Frasor trades worked out poorly, but I'm not going to cry over either player. I think the Tigers have been mediocre at player development, but great at trades. Having a big payroll helps a lot too.

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    1. Wasn't Frasor traded away before DD?

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  6. Frasor was traded in September 2002, Dombrowski's first year.

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