Joakim Soria proved last year he has plenty to offer a contender such as the Reds.
Following the surprising decision by Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall to not offer a contract to reliever Archie Bradley and the subsequent trade of closer Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels, his team suddenly has a crater to fill in the backend of their bullpen. However, help is available on the open market in the form of Joakim Soria.
Soria continues to defy his 36 years of age. This past season with the Oakland Athletics, he made 22 appearances tossing 22.1 innings and allowing just one home run. Additionally, the right-hander fanned 24 opposing hitters and produced an excellent 2.82 ERA for the AL West Division champs.
The 13-year veteran has primarily been used in a setup role since the 2016 season despite recording 16 saves in 2018 as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Over the course of 732 career appearances, Joakim Soria compiled an outstanding 3.01 ERA, while recording 223 saves. In other words, he’s a perfect complement to any contender’s bullpen.
Needless to say, Soria will have numerous suitors this offseason. Rumors have already circulated the AL Central Division champion Minnesota Twins are interested in obtaining his services. If the Cincinnati Reds are indeed interested, they would be prudent to strike fast.
As is always the case with the Reds, it will come down to money. The two-time All-Star received an $8.1M deal last offseason from the Oakland Athletics for a year of service. Taking the financial toll of the 2020 season into account, it will be interesting to see what type of deal Soria will land. Despite his stellar 2020 campaign, my guess is he won’t come close to receiving a similar deal for the 2021 season.
Adding Soria to the Reds relief corps makes too much sense not to pursue. First, he fills a gaping hole in the bullpen. Next, if the Redlegs are contending for the postseason in 2021, having a reliable, experienced arm in Soria is essential. Finally, if Cincinnati is out of contention by the middle of the summer, Soria would be an easy asset to flip at the trade deadline.
It’s time for Nick Krall to make his first significant addition to the 2021 club. Welcoming Joakim Soria to the Queen City would help to reduce some of the anxiety running rampant in Reds Country.