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Relief pitcher Joakim Soria is the centerpiece of a deal between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers that will exchange personnel between the American League's central and west divisions, and make Detroit a stronger contender to win the AL Central division

By SI Wire
July 23, 2014

The Texas Rangers have traded relief pitcher Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Tigers prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, according to Scout's Kyle Bogenschutz. The deal instantly upgrades the Tigers (56-42) bullpen as it hunkers down during the last ten weeks of the season to maintain its lead in the American League Central Division. The Rangers are looking to rebuild with young pitching talent. 

Soria has a 2.70 ERA and 17 saves in 35 appearances this year for the struggling Rangers (40-61). He will join another former Rangers closer, Joe Nathan. It is unclear which of the two pitchers will take over full-time closing duties for the Tigers, or if the two will work by committee. Fox's Jon Morosi reports the deal should be received well in the Tigers' clubhouse since Soria is so well-respected within the league.

Knebel, a pitcher from the University of Texas, was the Tigers 2013 first-round sandwich pick (39th overall). He was the franchise's top relief prospect and had already made his major league debut in May despite being drafted less than one calendar year earlier. Knebel had given up six earned runs in 8.2 career major league innings. Thompson is a starting pitcher who had just been promoted to the Tigers' AA-affiliate, the Erie SeaWolves, earlier this month.

Soria is on the final year of a two-year, $8 million contract. 

More: Texas Rangers' second-half preview: Season derailed by injury 

- Will Green

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