Tigers exercise 2015 option on reliever Joakim Soria
The Tigers had until five days after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether or not to exercise the option, but the team had been expected to do so. The option is worth $7 million.
Detroit also announced that it had extended one-year qualifying offers to starter Max Scherzer and designated hitter Victor Martinez. Scherzer went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA this season, while Martinez hit .335 and had a career-high .974 OPS, adding 32 home runs and 103 RBI.
Soria was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers in July, with Detroit sending two of its top prospects, starter Jake Thompson and reliever Corey Knebel, to the Rangers in exchange for him. Soria went on the disabled list in August with a strained oblique and recorded a 4.91 ERA with the Tigers in 11 innings. He had a 3.25 ERA in 44.1 innings overall between Texas and Detroit.
Soria was a part of the bullpen meltdown that cost Detroit in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, in which the team's relievers allowed 10 earned runs in 2.2 innings, including a blown three-run lead in Game 2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Soria allowed one earned run in the eighth inning in Game 2 and allowed four earned runs while recording just one out in the eighth inning in Game 1.
Detroit's relievers struggled all season, finishing 27th in MLB with a 4.29 ERA. Manager Brad Ausmus drew criticism for his handling of the bullpen, but general manager Dave Dombrowski said earlier this month he expected Ausmus to return as manager.
Soria is expected to serve as the Tigers' set-up man in the eighth inning next season. Joe Nathan will return in the closer's role, while previous set-up man Joba Chamberlain is a free agent and may not be re-signed.
The 30-year-old Soria has been an All-Star twice in the past, with both appearances coming when he played for the Kansas City Royals. Soria recorded a career-best 1.60 ERA in 2008 and a 1.78 ERA in 2010 as the Royals' closer.
The Tigers went 90-72 last season and won the American League Central for the fourth consecutive year.
- Ben Estes