Joakim Soria is absolutely one of the players the Tigers needed. No doubt about it. They need at least two really good relievers and maybe a third in order to field a competitive postseason team. Soria fits the mold. He’s having a great year. He has a great track record. The projections love him. He seems to be back and healthy and has a $7 million team option. It’s a great pickup.
But the Tigers paid a very steep price to make this upgrade. They traded Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson to get him and while Knebel’s a reliever through and through, Jake Thompson is a very real pitching prospect. A lot of people peg him as a back end guy, but I know multiple rival sources who have seen him this year and thing a lot more of him. The Tigers gave away a future quality reliever and a future potential mid-rotation starter for a year and a half of a very good reliever.
That’s a high price. It’s not insane. It’s not crazy. But it’s a lot. I’d trade Knebel for Soria easily and I’d throw in more but I wouldn’t want to add Thompson. I get why the Tigers did it. They need a reliever badly. It makes sense and it could be a big upgrade.
But there’s a problem. They don’t just need one reliever. They need two or three relievers. In order to win this year, they need another great reliever and they fired off two of their best bullets. They’ve taken two important prospects and sent them away. Which is fine in principle, but if you’re making this trade, you have to make more. This trade only makes sense if you’re really going to go all in.
Joakim Soria doesn’t make this a World Series winner. You need two Sorias, at least. So if you’re giving up Thompson and Knebel for Soria, you have to give up Ray for someone else. Or Crawford. Or Moya. Whatever it is. If you’re doing this, you’re going for it.
That’s fine, but you can’t do it halfway. Soria’s going to make this team better, but he makes the 2016-17 Tigers worse. That’s a worthwhile tradeoff, but only if it really makes the 2014 Tigers better.
This is the window, so don’t let it close without adding more.