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Tigers acquire closer Joakim Soria from Rangers for prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel

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The Tigers have made a deal to significantly bolster their bullpen by trading for Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, but pay a heavy prospect price in Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. Despite the Soria acquisition, the Tigers insist incumbent closer Joe Nathan will remain in the ninth inning role.

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports have confirmed the Detroit Tigers have dealt pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel to the Texas Rangers for right-handed closer Joakim Soria.

Morosi reports the deal is done, save for the passing of physicals.

Late Wednesday evening the Tigers did confirm the trade via email to local media. General Manager Dave Dombrowski added within the message Joe Nathan will remain Detroit's closer.

The Tigers have been on the prowl for an experienced relief pitcher with closing experience, but weren't necessarily looking to diaplace Nathan as the team's closer. Soria definitely fits the bill, and is having an excellent season at the back end of the Rangers' bullpen.

Long rumored to be a target of the Tigers, Soria has a 2.70 ERA, minuscule 0.870 WHIP,, 11.3 K/9, along with 17 saves while blowing just two in 35 appearances covering 33 1/3 innings. Soria has not allowed a home run this season and has walked only four batters.

The 30-year-old Soria is a two-time All-Star who owns a career 2.51 ERA and has recorded 177 saves over MLB seven seasons. The first five were spent with the Royals and the last two with the Rangers.

Soria missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, signing with the Rangers as a free agent before the 2013 season. He in currently in the second year of a two-year contract worth $8 million. The Tigers could keep Soria through the 2015 season ithey elect to use a team held contract option worth $7 million, with a $500K buyout clause.

The Tigers had to pay a high price for Soria, giving up a pair of top pitching prospects to complete the deal.

The 20-year-old Thompson was  Detroit's second-round selection in 2012's amateur draft and was recently promoted to Double-A Erie. In a 2014 season spent mostly at Single-A Lakeland, Thompson has a 6-4 record and 3.13 ERA in 17 starts covering 89 innings.  Thompson was one of the Tigers' representatives at MLB's Futures Game, earning the victory.

Jake Thompson minor league stats:
Thompson
G IP ERA WHIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9 H/9
K/BB
2014: A+- AA
16
89.0
3.13
1.20
0.79 3.04
7.76
8.1
2.55
Career
41
200.2
2.96
1.20
0.40
3.1
9.1
7.8
2.94

Knebel was selected by the Tigers in the first round of last year's June draft,. After quickly advancing through the Tigers' system, Knebel was called up to Detroit this past May. Currently on his second tour of duty with the big club, the 22-year-old Knebel has struggled, posting a 6.23 ERA and 1.64 WHIP In 8 2/3 innings.

Corey Knebel minor league stats:
Knebel G IP ERA WHIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB
H/9
2014 minors 25 33.1 1.62 0.93 0.3 4.6 11.6 2.53 3.9
Career minors
56 64.1 1.26 0.85 0.1 3.8 11.8 3.11 3.8