ANAHEIM, Calif. — The White Sox’ much-anticipated trade of closer Joakim Soria went down a week before the non-waiver trade deadline arrived.
Soria was sent to the playoff-contending Brewers on Thursday for two minor-league pitchers.
The Sox received 2014 first-round pick Kodi Medeiros in return, with the right-hander expected to be sent to Class AA Birmingham. Also coming from the Brewers in the deal was right-hander Wilber Perez.
The Sox also will send cash considerations to the Brewers to offset some of Soria’s remaining salary. A replacement for Soria on the active roster is expected to be announced Friday.
“I enjoyed my time here,” Soria said before heading to San Francisco, where the Brewers were about to open a series against the Giants. “I like the guys in here; the chemistry in here was really good. I always had fun with this group, but this is a business, and I’m going to a new team and a new family. I’m going to try to get to the playoffs.”
Soria said he was told he would not be activated to the Brewers’ major-league roster until Friday.
“Well, listen, he did a great job,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I was looking over the beginning of the season and the opportunities he’s had, and he’s made the most of them. He’s closed out 16 of 19 save opportunities. He’s also been used in games in which we might have been above a save opportunity to close out ballgames.”
Soria, 34, had a 2.56 ERA. Two years after finishing with a 4.05 ERA in 66‰ innings with the Royals, he reinvented himself with a lower arm slot on occasion and made himself desirable to a contender.
“I mean, that’s what it’s all about,” Soria said. “This is our job, but we are competitive people, competitive players, and you want to win. You want to be part of a group that makes it to the playoffs and wins a championship.”
The move was yet another example of an organization making the transition to young players with extreme upside.
And more evidence that the Sox aren’t a finished product came in the fifth inning against the Angels in an eventual 12-8 defeat that left the teams with a split of the four-game series.
A bad route by center fielder Leury Garcia on a hit by Andrelton Simmons and a wild and unnecessary relay throw from shortstop Tim Anderson led to Simmons coming all the way around to score while also driving in two runs.
“[Anderson] pulled the throw, but there was actually no play developing there,” Renteria said. “That’s where the trail man [on the relay] has to communicate, and we talked about it a little bit. It’s one of the experiences they will be able to use.”
The Sox did hit six home runs, the most for the franchise in a game at Angel Stadium.
Daniel Palka and Jose Abreu hit two home runs each. Avisail Garcia and Nicky Delmonico also went deep.
It gave the Sox a reason for optimism in a 33-66 season, but the Soria trade still carried much of the weight of the day after the game.
“It’s difficult, especially today because we lost a teammate, a teammate that started the season with us, and we had a very good relationship with him,” said Abreu, who hit three home runs in the series.
“But we all understand this is a business, and as part of the business, you have to find the strength to maintain your focus on the thing you need to do. That’s the key, and that will be the key for us.”