Joakim Soria Signs with Oakland Athletics

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Pitcher Joakim Soria #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after getting the third out to end the seventh inning during Game Four of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

After losing Jeurys Familia to the New York Mets, the Oakland Athletics were in need of additional help bridging the gap to All-Star closer Blake Treinen. A two-year, $15-million dollar deal with Joakim Soria does just that, bringing an experienced veteran to the Bay Area.

Joakim Soria Signs with Oakland Athletics

Soria pitched well for both the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 (3-4 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.14 WHIP), picking up 16 saves for the South Siders before heading north at the trade deadline. His 29.4% K% was his highest since 2009 and he excelled at making batters miss on his outside offerings (34.3% O-Swing%, 14.4% SwStr%).

Advanced looks at his 3.12 ERA (2.44 FIP, 3.35 xFIP, 2.88 SIERA) are very positive, and he limited walks, posting his lowest BB% (6.3%) since 2014. Opposing hitters struggled to square up on Soria as well, posting a 25.9% Hard% against him (Fifth-lowest in 60+ IP). In addition to Soria’s 16 saves in 2018, he has an extensive record of successfully closing out games, posting 220 saves for his career (fifth-most among active players).

Soria joins an Oakland bullpen that excelled last season, posting the third-lowest ERA (3.37) and sixth most strikeouts (627) in the league. His addition gives manager Bob Melvin another strong end of game option that should keep this unit among league-leaders in 2019.

Verdict

The Soria signing is an excellent signing by the Athletics, bringing an experienced pitcher into the fold for half the money given to the departed free agent Familia (three-years, $30 million). Given their statistics over 2016-18, Oakland did well to replace Familia’s production on such an affordable contract:

Name K% BB% WHIP ERA FIP xFIP SIERA
Jeurys Familia 26.20% 10.10% 1.25 3.05 2.67 3.38 3.38
Joakim Soria 26.50% 8.10% 1.28 3.63 3.07 3.44 3.29

The reliever market has certainly heated up in recent days with Andrew Miller among those to sign recently. The move to sign Soria looks to be a solid one while not breaking the bank for Oakland.

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