With Soria gone, who’s next?

Something I just sort of noticed recently … Relief pitchers on lousy teams, no matter how well they’ve been pitching or what their numbers, don’t really get noticed at all.

Has anyone noticed just how brilliantly Joakim Soria has pitched this season? For a three- or four-season stretch, Soria was arguably among the three best closers in the majors. It was essentially him, Mariano Rivera, and your favorite other guy. Then Soria got hurt, and missed a whole season. He came back last season for a spell, but couldn’t quite locate his pitches. 

That was last season. This season he’s pitching better than he’s ever pitched (here’s Gabe Kapler’s report). More strikeouts. Fewer walks. And he’s not allowed a single home run all season. But few have really noticed, because he’s done it all for the last-place Rangers. 

Now he’s pitching for the first-place Tigers, who don’t really need any help now but might well in October.

Are there any other under-the-radar relievers who could help a contender? Well, the Angels already snagged Huston Street. But Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Glen Perkins, Steve Cishek, and Jonathan Papelbon are still out there. And of course Greg Holland. Like Joakim Soria a few years ago, he’s a brilliant Royal closer working on a team-friendly contract. And like Soria, Holland will probably be hurt or ineffective before the Royals really have a need for him.

But no, the Royals absolutely will not trade Greg Holland. They just don’t do things like that.