Joakim Soria had a forgettable time with the Detroit Tigers last season. After being shipped over in a trade from Texas he pitched poorly in the regular season (4.91 ERA), and even worse in the postseason (0-1, 45.00 ERA in two games).

Despite Soria’s travails in the old English D, the Tigers still picked up his one-year option in October. He projects to be the setup man for closer Joe Nathan in 2015.

With this pair in their bullpen, Detroit boasts the luxury of two relievers who both rank in the top 10 in saves among active players.

Owning two premium arms at the back end of their bullpen puts the Tigers in a very strong position. Elite stoppers are among the game’s hottest commodities, and needy teams are often willing to trade away their prized talent in order to secure their services. A prime example of this is the Los Angeles Angels coughing up four prospects to the Padres in exchange for Huston Street last year.

Despite the milk turning sour for Soria in Motown, his resume still places him among baseball’s best relief pitchers. Before shifting to Detroit, he was lights out in a Rangers’ uniform in 2014. Check out the righty’s numbers compared to his peers:

Soria compiled these stats while racking up 17 saves, which raised his career total to 178. This man is a lockdown closer when given the opportunity.

While the Tigers are content to use him in a setup role, other MLB teams would relish the opportunity to install him as their closer. So, which teams would be viable candidates?

The Toronto Blue Jays are one club that quickly spring to mind. The acquisitions of Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Michael Saunders this offseason prove that their switch to win-now mode is genuine.

Would Soria be an ideal fit north of the border? You betcha.

They are currently without a proven closer, and rumor has it that the Jays are now shopping the trade market for one.

What’s in it for Detroit?

The Tigers have dotted a lot of i’s and crossed plenty of t’s already this winter. The signing of Tom Gorzelanny earlier this week was just their latest piece of business.

But, while the 32-year-old veteran is a sound pick-up, he is not the deadly southpaw Detroit is searching for. It so happens that the Blue Jays possess just the right man.

Brett Cecil emerged as one of the best lefty relievers in the American League last season. According to Fangraphs, the 28-year-old ranked seventh in the AL in K/9 (12.83) and eighth in FIP (2.34) for qualified relievers.

Over the past two decades, a litany of lefties has been trusted to do the business for Detroit. The likes of Phil Coke, Ian Krol (who may still emerge), Daniel Schlereth, Duane Below, Charlie Furbush, Bobby Seay, Tim Byrdak, Jamie Walker, Heath Murray, Bill Krueger and others have never quite cut the mustard in a Tigers’ uniform. Cecil would provide them with the southpaw that they have been coveting for many years.

Not since the days of Willie Hernandez in the 1980’s has Detroit boasted an imposing left-hander. A quarter of a century has been more than enough time to wait for the next one. Cecil would fulfil a different role to Detroit’s former Cy Young Award-winning closer, but he could be nearly as valuable.

There would be other benefits to acquiring the Blue Jays’ lefty. He is much cheaper than Soria, and as recently reported, Detroit is currently only a few Joel Hanrahan incentives away from passing the luxury-tax threshold. Additionally, Cecil has two years of team control left until he becomes a free agent—Soria has one.

While Cecil would be a significant loss for the Jays, they would still have the arms to absorb it. Aaron Loup and up-and-comer Rob Rasmussen give them two solid southpaws out of the pen to build a bridge to Soria as closer.

Detroit also has cover if they were to lose their eighth-inning man. Closer-in-waiting Bruce Rondon, Hanrahan (100 career saves) Al Alburquerque, as well as Cecil, would give Detroit plenty of late-inning options.

Tigers’ fans with long memories will recall that the acquisition of Hernandez occurred prior to the 1984 championship-winning season. It is probably drawing a long bow to suggest that a Soria-Cecil swap would lead Detroit to the Promised Land. But, it would cap a pretty darn good offseason in the Motor City.


Unless otherwise stated, all stats in this article are courtesy of


Please note that the stats in the table were Soria‘s with Texas only


Hit me up on Twitter: @jdunc1979

Read more MLB news on