The big news of the day was the Tigers trading David Price, but in addition to trading their ace, the club also traded their closer.
Like Price, Joakim Soria was acquired last July to strengthen the club's bullpen. Unfortunately, he never found a groove in 2014 with the Tigers, as an injury and lack of a defined role resulted in extensive struggles for the reliever.
He entered 2015 as the club's setup man, and after Joe Nathan got hurt, he was elevated to be the club's closer. He had a great start to the season, but a few rough outings as of late, including the blown lead in Minnesota on the Friday night before the All-Star break, that might have been the symbolic end to the Tigers' 2015 campaign.
Soria had a 2.85 ERA over 43 games, including going 23 for 26 in save opportunities. He also had a healthy 7.9 strikeout per nine rate, and was walking only 2.4 per nine. But his FIP was significantly higher than his ERA at 4.81 and his home run rate had skyrocketed, at nearly 1.8 home runs per nine innings.
Soria will be a free agent after the season and it's unlikely he would have received a qualifying offer, so trading him and getting something in return now makes sense.
In return, the Tigers got Pirates shortstop prospect JaCoby Jones, who was a third round pick in the 2013 draft out of LSU. Jones was hitting .253 in High-A ball for Bradenton of the Florida State League, with 31 extra base hits, including ten home runs.
Jones has impressive athleticism, which has allowed him the flexibility to play shortstop in addition to other spots on the field, including center field. He has good speed (14 for 18 on stolen base attempts this year for Bradenton).
Jones had just been promoted to Double-A, and will be assigned to Erie to begin his Tigers career.