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Tigers trade rumors: Detroit interested in Joakim Soria

Detroit is in the market for an upgrade over the struggling Joe Nathan, and the Rangers closer is atop their list.

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The back end of the Detroit Tigers bullpen has sputtered so far in 2014, and according to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi, they're looking at Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria to help improve the situation.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Tigers are having ongoing discussions with the Rangers about reliever Joakim Soria, sources say. <a href="">@FOXSports1</a></p>&mdash; Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) <a href="">July 18, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Detroit relied upon Joaquin Benoit as their closer through the bulk of the 2013 season after moving on from Jose Valverde, but Benoit left over the winter to sign a 2-year contract with the San Diego Padres.  The Tigers then turned their attention to former Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan, MLB's active saves leader, but the 2-year, $20 million contract he inked hasn't gone according to plan.

The Tigers bullpen has allowed a 4.26 ERA and .269 batting average this season, both of which rank in the bottom third of the American League, largely due to Nathan struggling through the worst season of his relief career.  Nathan's 5.61 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 2.50 K/BB are all career worsts, and the 39 year old's average fastball velocity has dipped to just 91.7 mph after sitting at 94.0 mph as recently as 2012.

Soria, on the other hand, is in the midst of arguably the best season of his career.  The 31 year old former Kansas City Royals closer has shown a full rebound from the Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2012 season, and he's currently posting career bests in K/9 (11.9), K/BB (10.00), FIP (0.90), and WHIP (0.791).  Unfortunately, the rash of injuries suffered by his Rangers teammates have left the once promising Texas club with the worst record in the American League, and as evidenced by their trade of Jason Frasor to the Royals this week, they're now firmly in a selling mode.

Soria has roughly $2 million left on the 2-year, $8 million contract he signed with the Rangers prior to the 2013 season, and the Rangers currently hold a $7 million team option for 2015 (with a $500,000 buyout).