Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels made his first move of the Winter Meetings on Monday, agreeing to terms former Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria. Though specifics of the contract aren't known yet, it's believed that the Rangers will sign Soria to a two-year deal, with a club option for a third, and that Soria will earn between $8-9 million dollars over the first two years of the deal.
Soria still needs to pass a physical before the deal is finalized.
For a team that needs to rebuild its bullpen, this deal makes a ton of sense.
Soria is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and could miss the start of the 2013 season. Still, Soria should be ready in the first half of the season.
Between 2007-2010, Soria was one of the top relief pitchers in all of baseball, walking no more than 2.72 batters per nine innings, while striking out no fewer than 8.82 batters per nine innings.
Soria fell off a bit in 2011, before undergoing his second Tommy John surgery last April, but still managed to be an asset in 2011, posting an fWAR of 0.9.
Since Joe Nathan is signed through 2012, Soria won't have to have the pressure of closing when he returns from his injury. Instead, Soria will be eased into Texas' bullpen, and will likely play a major setup role in the second half -- provided he's effective when he returns from injury.
With relievers like Brandon League and Jeremy Affeldt receiving ridiculous contracts, rolling the dice on an injured Soria makes a ton of sense -- especially when Soria could end up being Texas' closer in 2014-15.
There is some risk with Soria, given that he's coming off his second Tommy John surgery. Still, it's a risk well-worth taking.