The Athletics are in the process of finalizing a two-year contract with right-handed reliever Joakim Soria, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. MassLive’s Chris Cotillo reports that Soria’s average annual value is likely to be somewhere in the high seven figures:
#Athletics close to finalizing two-year deal with free-agent reliever Joakim Soria, sources tell The Athletic. Some details to complete, and Soria must pass physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018
I’m told Soria is getting close to the same AAV as his last deal ($8.33M) on 2-year deal, so something in the $14-17M range makes sense. #Athletics— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 21, 2018
The 34-year-old Soria has been somewhat inconsistent over his 11-year major-league career, but he’s capable of being one of the best relievers in the majors when he’s on. That inconsistency was evident in 2018, as he was very good with the White Sox, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 49 strikeouts and 10 walks over 38.2 innings. He struggled a bit after being dealt to the Brewers at the deadline, though, throwing for a 4.09 ERA (his periphrals were still good, however, as he had a 1.09 WHIP with 26 strikeouts and six walks in 22 innings). His most significant struggles with Milwaukee came in the postseason, when he posted a 7.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP over seven appearances (4.2 innings).
Soria is the Athletics’ first addition this offseason to a pitching staff that figures to get shredded apart by free agency — Jeurys Familia and Trevor Cahill have already signed with other teams, and Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson, and Shawn Kelley remain on the free-agent market, with Kendall Graveman, Cory Gearrin, and Mike Fiers having been non-tendered. Sean Manaea is likely to miss the entire 2019 season after having shoulder surgery, so the A’s have virtually no established starting pitching depth. They’ll return a large chunk of their wildly successful bullpen from 2018, but they’ll probably have to rely on “The Opener” strategy quite a bit to cover innings next season, so the addition of Soria is an important one.
Soria is Oakland’s second free-agent signing of the offseason and most significant to date; their only other move was signing veteran catcher Chris Herrmann to a one-year deal earlier this month.