By Dan Leach/Follow Dan at DTMLeach
DETROIT (97.1 THE TICKET) – As night fell on Wednesday it appears that the sun will rise that much brighter on Thursday for Detroit Tigers fans. As broken nationally by 97.1 The Ticket’s Kyle Bogie, pending a physical the Texas Rangers will send closer Joakim Soria to Detroit for top minor league pitching prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson.
Many are asking is it too much to give up for a reliever that might only be in Detroit for a couple of years, the easy answer is NO!
You have to give something to get something in MLB and the Tigers have shown that they truly are all in. Does this bring back memories of Alexander for Smoltz? Maybe, but it is much closer to Andrew Miller for the best hitter of this generation in Miguel Cabrera.
Yes Knebel and Thompson have huge upsides, but the Tigers are in it to win now, not next year, not in 2017 like the prophets say the Astros will, 2014 and they are not looking back or ahead.
If Knebel turns out to be the next JV, but the Tigers win the World Series this year as much as it might sound crazy, it is the right move. Sometimes to win it all you just to have to be, for lack of a better word, balsy.
This is a franchise that has come so close three times in the past 8 years and it has been evident all season long that the one area of the team that would prevent it from winning a title is the bullpen. Is Soria Mo Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, of course not, but what he isn’t is Joe Nathan, who has been about as reliable as a Lions Super Bowl prediction over the past 57 years.
So far this season Soria has 42 K’s, just 4 walks, and has given up 0 Home Runs with a 2.70 ERA/0.87 WHIP in 33 and 1/3 innings. Truly just what the Tigers need and exactly what the postseason doctor ordered. Just for fun here are Nathan’s numbers….36 and 1/2 innings pitched 39 K’s, 16 walks, 5 HR’s, and 5 blown saves. Oh ya don’t forget that opposite of anything good ERA of 5.89/1.53 WHIP. Some might disagree , but as far as the Tigers are concerned the closer is by far the most important position for them and the one position that would prevent them from winning it all in its current status.
The simple fact is Dave Dombrowski had to make a move and a big one to help bolster a bullpen that has ranked near the bottom of the AL and MLB for that matter for most of the season and for one of the World Series favorites that is unacceptable. The team might not even be done yet as Philly lefty specialist Antonio Bastardo is on the table and would be a logical move with the up and down season for Phil Coke.
Detroit also will have Drew Smyly in the pen during a potential playoff run, so with the Soria trade and the lights out pitching of Joba Chamberlain most of the season, with one move things will look a lot better as far as the postseason run is concerned for Detroit come Thursday in Los Angeles for the Tigers.