Pirates bolster bullpen, pick up Joakim Soria from Tigers

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UPDATE: Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Tigers will receive prospect infielder-outfielder JaCoby Jones in return.

6:11 p.m. ET: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates and Tigers have agreed to a deal. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that medicals still need to be reviewed before the trade becomes official.

The Tigers will receive one minor leaguer in return, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

6:09 p.m. ET: After dealing ace David Price to the Blue Jays earlier today, the Tigers are now close to moving their closer. According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, the Pirates are nearing a deal to acquire Joakim Soria.

Soria, an impending free agent, has posted a 2.85 ERA and 36/11 K/BB ratio over 41 innings this season. The 31-year-old has been very solid since taking over the closer role in Detroit, going 23-for-26 in save chances.

The Pirates already have an All-Star closer in Mark Melancon, so Soria would presumably function in a set-up capacity. Pittsburgh’s bullpen is currently fourth in the majors with a 2.71 ERA, but they are about to get even better.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.