The need for some bullpen help is going to push the Detroit Tigers towards signing a player they traded last season midway through it, Joakim Soria, who last played for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 31-year old rightie had a very good year on both teams, although he’s not quite the guy who made the All-Star game a couple of times earlier in his career when he was playing for the Royals. However, putting him on the back end of the bullpen takes care of an issue the Tigers had trouble with in 2015.
He had a 2.85 ERA through 43 games and 41 innings on the Tigers, including 23 saves (3 blown). He was traded to the Pirates for JaCoby Jones and hit free agency after the Pirates failed to make it past the Wild Card game against the Chicago Cubs. For Pittsburgh he was even better than in Detroit, playing in a different role, no longer closing the game. He pitched in 26.2 innings, posting a 2.03 ERA (his best since 2010), with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings, something he struggled with while playing in Detroit.
The Tigers had a bad season in 2015, finishing 5th in the AL Central with a 74-87 record. They’re looking to bounce back with more than just power in the lineup and quality starters, but solidifying a bullpen that struggled (Soria not included) in a rare, miserable season for one of the more consistent AL clubs in recent years.