One of the biggest problems for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 was their inability to hold a lead late in games. If the Phillies want to contend in 2013, then they will need to fill their bullpen need. A big problem for the Phillies was that they had too much money in all of the wrong places on the roster. There were copious amounts of under performances from position players that had big contracts and not enough money put into the bullpen.
There is one player that may be the perfect fit for the Phillies’ bullpen though.
Joakim Soria is a right-handed closer who has spent his career with the Kansas City Royals. Soria made the MLB All-Star game twice as a member of the Royals. From 2007 to 2010, Soria was unbelievable with an 8-10 record, a 2.01 ERA, and 281 K while pitching in 238 games and recording over 255.0 pitched. The 2011 season was the worst of Soria’s career. In 60 games he had a 5-5 record, a 4.03 ERA, and only 60 K’s while pitching 60.1 innings. Most of his struggles were due to hamstring issues. Soria sat out last season when doctors found ligament damage in his elbow, which resulted in Tommy John surgery for the young right-hander. The Royals eventually declined his $8 million option, which is why he is now a free agent.
So is Joakim Soria worth the risk for the Phillies? Absolutely.
Since he is coming off of surgery in 2012, Soria may be a pitcher that the Phillies can get at a discount. The New York Yankees have also been speculated to have interest in the 28-year old right-hander. Soria has also expressed interest in playing with the Yankees because it gives him a chance to be the set-up man for Mariano Rivera.
If the Phillies want to take a risk, then Soria may be the right person to do it with. American League pitchers have had success coming over to the National League in the past. Instead of taking the risk on bringing back former-Phillies’ closer/setup man Ryan Madson, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may want to evaluate the success of Soria to the success of Madson. Soria could be the 8th inning answer that the Phillies are looking for. But are they willing to take the chance?