Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com and Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket reports that the Tigers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the deal is only pending the three physical exams.
Soria has been solid as the Texas closer this season, boasting a 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 42/4 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. He could eventually — or immediately — take over the ninth-inning job in Detroit, where veteran Joe Nathan has been unreliable.
Soria didn’t come cheap for the Tigers, who lead the AL Central but are gearing up for October. Thompson was a second-round pick in 2012 out of a Texas high school and owns a promising 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 203/69 K/BB ratio in 200 2/3 career innings between rookie ball and Double-A Erie. He’s only 20 years old. Knebel was a first-round pick in 2013 (39th overall) and has registered a dominant 1.26 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 84/27 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 minor league innings. The 22-year-old out of the University of Texas had also made eight relief appearances for the big-league Tigers this season, though the results were not spectacular.
Soria is making $5.5 million this season and carries a $7 million club option for the 2015 campaign.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.