The Texas Rangers realized the benefits of taking a chance on a rehabbing arm at a reasonable rate last year when they brought in veteran reliever Joe Nathan, who had come back from Tommy John surgery in mid-2011. He became an all-star closer for the Rangers in 2012.
Now, they're taking another one of those chances as they have signed Joakim Soria from the Kansas City Royals, who missed all of 2012 after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. Soria's timeline isn't exactly known, but it's assumed he won't be ready for the start of the season and would most likely be ready to pitch in June or July.
The deal is reportedly worth $9 million over two years, which is a great bargain if Soria comes back strong and can perform up to his first four years in Kansas City when he was posted ERAs of 2.48, 1.60, 2.21 and 1.78 while racking up 132 saves over that time. In 2011, Soria's arm troubles began and he recorded 28 saves while his ERA soared to 4.03.
Soria also has possibly the greatest nickname in all of baseball, The Mexicutioner, though he has said he doesn't want to be associated with it anymore because of the recent drug violence in his home country of Mexico. Norm Hitzges on 1310 The Ticket just came up with The Texacutioner. Sounds good to us.
Regardless of his nickname, if Soria can get strong and healthy again, he can be a very large piece of the Rangers' bullpen. In fact, he was said to want to sign with a team where he could close, and while that didn't happen Nathan is a free agent after next season pending a club option. So the closing job could be his next season if Nathan falls off a bit.
So put Soria on your mental shelf and get ready for June or July when he'll essentially be a free trade deadline acquisition, along with fellow Tommy John recoveree Neftali Feliz. If healthy, those could be two nice additions to a bullpen down the stretch.