How would Joakim Soria fit with the Houston Astros?
The Houston Astros are still in need of an effective closer to round out the bullpen, and while general manager James Click has said the team will not spend much going forward, the Astros could be looking at someone with less experience to fill the closing role. Free-agent closers such as Trevor Rosenthal and Alex Colome are still on the board, but their contract wants might not be in the same ballpark as the Astros offerings.
I mentioned five names the Astros could pursue but signing either Rosenthal or Colome would possibly be the last signing for the Astros offseason if they were to engage more in those talks.
Like many players in this slow-moving market, Joakim Soria hasn’t received much chatter. Yet among the Astros interests, the Oakland A’s, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners are all in talks with the two-time All-Star.
Soria has been a journey man in his 13-year career, and while more recently seeing time as a setup man, he has the experience in the closing role earlier in his career. While sitting in front of Liam Hendriks the last two season in Oakland, Soria established a 3.94 ERA through 91.1 innings, but his 2020 numbers are the ones to analyze more. Soria went from a 4.30 ERA to a 2.82 ERA. I have been preaching the Astros need of a strikeout pitcher in their bullpen, and while Soria’s career strikeout per nine is 9.8, he has had recent seasons with it in the double digits. His strikeout rate exceeds that of Colome, but not that of Rosenthal, who could be the best fit for the role statistically.
Soria is possibly the best option for the A’s by talent and contract, especially with the departing of Hendriks. The Astros, however, look to be more in contention at the moment with more needs being filled. Soria made a total of $15 million over two years in Oakland, and while other closers are looking at the Brad Hand deal, Soria might not be in that exact same range. The Astros are in need of a new center fielder and possible rotational depth, but a signing of Soria would be the cheapest option on the market for the Astros.
At 36, Soria would be another veteran arm to add to a youthful bullpen from 2020. The right-hander could possibly not be signed longer than two years hinting close to $7-8 million a year. This does seem like a lot, but with the A’s having one of the smallest payrolls in baseball, they might throw in an offer around the same amount.
There are other options out there such as Brandon Kintzler, but of those left in free agency, Colome, Rosenthal, and Soria have been linked to Houston.