The end of Joakim Soria’s tenure with the White Sox was foreseen from the moment he was acquired. In taking on the majority of the veteran reliever’s $9 million salary in exchange for a non-prospect in a three-team trade in January, the goal was always for Soria to provide enough value in a late-inning role with the rebuilding White Sox for him to be flipped for something more valuable than Jake Peter — the player for whom he was acquired — once the trade deadline neared.
On Thursday, the White Sox did just that in sending Soria to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league pitcher Kodi Medeiros and Wilber Perez. It’s not the kind of needle-moving trade that turns the White Sox already booming farm system into something more formidable. Neither Medeiros nor Perez are “can’t miss” prospects, or they wouldn’t be available for a 34-year-old reliever. But it’s a very clear “cashing in” of an asset who was destined to be traded all along.
Medeiros is a 22-year-old former first round pick (12th overall in 2014) who, while he has been working as a starter primarily, is almost certainly a reliever. The type of reliever he ultimately becomes is reliant on him harnessing his command, something that’s eluded him frequently during his four-plus seasons as a professional. From the 2018 BP Annual:
Medeiros possesses many major-league qualities as a pitcher: He spins a nasty slider, severely suppresses home runs and is a lefty with low-90s velocity. Such a package should give him a high floor as a big-league reliever, with intriguing upside as a late-inning guy if enough clicks. Fairly or not, as an unexpected first-round pick, the story with Medeiros has always been what he lacks. His slight frame and side-armed delivery make it unlikely that he’ll stick as a starter. Moreover, his control often has a “Dick Cheney while hunting” vibe to it. The latter could cause him to stall out in the upper minors—he has never posted an ERA below 4.44 in his professional career—but his positive qualities still should help him give left-handed hitters fits out of the big-league bullpen someday.
The home run suppression is very much true — he’s allowed just 22 in 427 career minor league innings — and he’s posting the best K/BB rate of his career this season at Double-A (2.38), albeit the improvement has been very minute. How the White Sox handle him once he joins the organization is yet to be seen, but whether they continue to give him a shot as a starter or fast-track him to the majors as a reliever, he’s the type of headlining piece worth targeting in exchange for a player who’s not in the long-term plans.
Perez, on the other hand, is a bit of an unknown. The 20-year-old right-hander was an international signing a year ago and has thrown all of 56 innings for the Brewers’ Dominican Summer League team. The White Sox internal scouting reports of Perez are more thorough than that, of course, but he’s the type of lottery ticket that’s worth taking on in a deal like this.
Lead Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports