Too early to talk about trades? Maybe. But if the Tribe resides in the cellar of the AL Central much longer, we might not get the opportunity to seriously discuss them later.
The first trade option I’m going to throw out there is Rangers’ closer Joakim Soria.
Why he’s available…
Since the calendar hasn’t even turned to June yet, it’s safe to say he isn’t firmly on the trade block just yet. But the Rangers have been destroyed by injuries and it’s tough to imagine them making a serious run in the second half this year. If they do fall off (they’re 27-26 right now), Soria will be one of their most tradable assets.
He’s earning $5.5M this year, with incentives that could push that number over $6M. He also has a $7M option for 2015 and with his injury history the Rangers’ may prefer to put him in the block rather risk giving $7M to closer who will be 31 years old.
The again, the Rangers like to spend money. So maybe he won’t he even be offered up.
Why the Indians want him…
Because he’s not John Axford.
Everything that makes Axford painful to watch (the home runs, the walks, etc), is exactly what makes Soria the perfect replacement.
Axford has given up as many home runs this season as Soria has yielded walks. Soria’s also given up 26 home runs in his career, while Axford has surrendered 23 in just the last three seasons.
Can they afford him?
It’s tough to say what the asking price would be for Soria. He’ll be one of the top relievers on the market if the Rangers throw up the white flag. But ultimately he’s a rental closer, and those guys generally don’t get much on the trade market.
Kyle Crockett’s fast rise to the majors certainly makes him intruiging trade bait for a team like the Rangers who want to remain competitive in 2015. He’s capable of helping out right now and has the potential to develop into a back end of the bullpen guy.
The Rangers would probably want more than just Crockett, but that’s a reasonable starting point for negotiations.
Everyone can use an extra arm in the bullpen so the Indians would have to get into a bidding war with multiple teams.
The entire AL East is in win-now mode and all five teams could use the bullpen help. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Blue Jays make a serious run at him. They have a solid group at the back end of the bullpen, but the addition of Soria would give them a solid leg up on the competition in that area.
If I were to bet, I’d say Soria either stays in Texas or lands in the East, but not before the Indians at least inquire about his services.