When the 2013 season ended in Game 163 for the Texas Rangers, there was a pretty large question on who the Rangers' closer would be in 2014.
Would it be veteran Joe Nathan, who was fantastic in his two seasons in Texas but aging and looking for a multi-year, big money deal? Or what about former all-star closer and AL Rookie of the Year turned failed starter/Tommy John patient Neftali Feliz?
The answer, of course, was neither. Joakim Soria was almost an afterthought to be the Rangers' closer this season, another former all-star closer coming off a Tommy John of his own. By the time the Rangers broke spring training, Feliz had yet to find his old self, and Joe Nathan was a Detroit Tiger.
All Soria has done this year is convert 14 of 15 save opportunities and put up a pristine 1.80 ERA with 34 strikeouts and three walks. Opponents hit .144 against him, and he's the best pitcher in baseball against right-handed hitters.
He's been great, that's all there is to it, and the Rangers have a club-friendly $7 million option on Soria for 2015 that they're almost sure to pick up.
Entering this spring, everyone knew Soria was waiting in the wings as a possibility, but no one could've really expected this.