GM Sandy Alderson will have his hands full as he tries to remake a team that finished 74-88 and 24 games out of first place. One area in desperate need of a makeover is the bullpen. Frank Francisco led the team in saves with 23 but had a 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.
Enter Joakim Soria, who is expected to become a free agent when the Kansas City Royals decline his $8 million option. Soria missed all of 2012 because of Tommy John surgery. Actually, Soria had two Tommy John surgeries.
The Royals might try to bring Soria back on a more team-friendly deal. However, Royals GM Dayton Moore might decide to move on to another option if negotiations drag out.
This past week Soria began throwing for the first time in six months and should be available in the early part of next season, or even before.
Alderson will be on the lookout for cheap, effective bullpen options and he has shown a willingness to invest in the bullpen. Last year’s additions of Francisco, Miguel Batista, and Jon Rauch didn’t exactly work out. Francisco still has one year left on his deal but he might be more effective in the middle innings than he was as closer despite only blowing 3 saves in 26 chances.
Adding a bona fide closer would go a long way for the Mets and Soria is right up their alley. He shouldn’t command a ridiculous amount of money but will cost something. The Mets, contrary to popular opinion, have a few dollars to spend and giving Soria an incentive laden deal might be just what the doctor ordered for both parties.
Soria features a very good fastball and mixes in a curve, slider, and change-up from time to time. When he is on his game he averages over a strikeout per inning, owning a 9.73 K/9 for his career. He also has a career 2.40 ERA (inflated by a poor 2011 when he recorded a 4.04 ERA) and a career WHIP of 1.04. He can be downright unhittable when he is on his game and his 160 career saves would go a long way towards bolstering the back end of the Mets bullpen.
If Soria does become a free agent he might be worth kicking the tires on if the Royals and him can’t come together on a new deal.