The Tigers paid a lot to get Joakim Soria last July, losing Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel to the Rangers, but it was a deal they needed to make. They were desperate for big relievers and they were in a position where going all in made sense. Over the last year, Soria gave the Tigers 52 innings with a 3.29 ERA and 4.89 FIP (3.24 RE24). The overall numbers weren’t great, largely because of some awfulness lately, but the memories will always feature Ausmus using him poorly rather than him failing to perform, even if both were true.
It didn’t go as planned, but few things do. In exchange for Soria, the Tigers add JaCoby Jones from Pittsburgh, who’s a SS or a CF, depending on whom you ask. He’s a toolsy type, with some good raw power, but the report I got on him today was that there’s “little chance he hits” and probably more of a utility profile.
That’s not a bad piece, considering the Tigers were dealing a reliever rental during a bad season. You weren’t going to get very much for Soria, so getting a player with some small chance of blossoming is a win. My guess is that the Tigers could have shopped him around and gotten a higher floor player, but I understand their impulse to pick up a guy who could be coached into something.
There’s a bias in my evaluation I’m sure, as I’m always in favor of polish over ability, but the reality is that most guys like Jones don’t wind up turning into anything of note. That doesn’t make it a bad deal. Jones becomes one of the best dozen prospects in the Tigers system easily and Soria had zero value to them going forward.
It’s a trade that works just fine, even if it isn’t one that blows you away. When you’re trading expiring contracts, you’re not going to get a whole lot unless it’s an elite player. The Tigers added to the system with the Soria deal and the value seems right. I might have chosen a different type of player, but Jones is the right quality of player to get back.