Detroit — The first move of the Tigers' offseason has been settled.
The team will pick up the $7 million option for 2015 on reliever Joakim Soria, a source confirmed to The News on Friday. The team confirmed the news later in the day.
Soria was unavailable Friday, tending to a sick daughter, but said through his agent, Oscar Suarez, "I'm ecstatic about it."
It's not a big surprise, but it is interesting, given how sporadically Soria was used after last July's trade, and how he struggled, particularly in two outings in the postseason.
In other Tigers news Friday, in a somewhat surprising development, oft-injured outfielder Andy Dirks was lost to the Blue Jays on waivers. Don Kelly and reliever Evan Reed also were optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
The Tigers acquired Soria from the Rangers in late July for their two top pitching prospects, Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson, and it was believed Soria would be a huge boost for a bullpen that has scuffled for years.
But Detroit never had a set role for him, and he struggled to find his groove. Then he missed a month with an oblique injury.
For the year, Soria, 30, was 2-4 with a 3.25 ERA and a 0.992 WHIP, though most of that success was with the Rangers, where he was closing ballgames.
The role shouldn't be the issue next year, however. Soria is being told he'll be the eighth-inning guy, setting up for Joe Nathan, a source said. It's just like when they were together in Texas two years ago.
The Tigers, understandably, aren't entirely confident youngster Bruce Rondon, who had Tommy John surgery in March, will be ready for the start of the season.
Through Suarez, Soria said, "I understand the situation with Nathan. All I wanted to find out was what my role was. I don't want to make excuses. I didn't perform up to my part, but then again, I would just rather turn the page.
"The San Francisco Giants won, and hopefully we can get ready to win in 2015. I'm past that."
There was no news on the $5.4 million team option for catcher Alex Avila. The Tigers might be considering declining it, with the hopes of signing him for slightly less. With a big payroll that's only going to get bigger, any idea to save money is on the table.