The Brewers Make a Move, Landing Currently-Dominant Reliever Joakim Soria

There was a time in the not-so-distance past (2007-2010) when Joakim Soria was one of the studliest relievers out there. In his rookie year with the Royals, Soria – a reliever! – finished 7th in Rookie of the Year voting. A year later, he was an All-Star, and two years after that he was an All-Star and finished among the top-ten in MVP voting and the top 20 in Cy Young voting.

Things sorta trailed off for him after that, though. In 2011, he posted his first ERA above 2.50, and it was WAY above (4.03). At the end of the season, he underwent Tommy John surgery, missed all of 2012 and threw only 23.2 innings in 2013. He was very good again in 2014 and 2015, and had GREAT peripherals last season, despite more middling results.

This season, however, it’s all coming together again for the 34-year-old right-hander (2.56 ERA, 2.15 FIP, 1.4 fWAR), and the Cubs biggest rivals just traded for him:

As a brief aside, because it’s too funny not to share, Jon Heyman also reported this, just after Mark *Feinsand,* but clearly fell prey to Twitter’s auto-population:

https://twitter.com/Feinsand/status/1022533946364583936

In any case, yes, the Brewers just landed a VERY dominant reliever and they’re adding him to what is already one of the best bullpens in baseball. (Perhaps the best. Using FanGraphs’ WAR calculation, the Brewers now have three of the top 15 relievers in all of baseball (Soria, Josh Hader, and Jeremy Jeffress).)

All of which is to say, sure, they didn’t really need to add to their bullpen, which was already a clear strength, but 1) Hader has thrown a lot of innings already this season and has even struggled a couple times, and 2) if you think you’re heading to the postseason, there’s no amount of bullpen depth and quality that’s too much. And it’s particularly important if you think you might have to participate in a one-game playoff without a dominant starter on the staff (i.e. the Wild Card game and the Brewers).

Financially, Soria has a $10M mutual option for 2019 with a $1M buyout, and is making $9M this season. That probably held down the return a bit:

That should read Kodi Medeiros, who is a top 15 prospect in a good Brewers system, but has been only so-so as he’s worked his way up the Brewers’ system. Perez is 20 and still in the Dominican Summer league. Not a bad return by any stretch for the White Sox on a rental reliever, but also not a particularly painful move for the Brewers.

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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