It’s amazing how quiet the market has been this winter for free agent reliever Rafael Soriano. He was one of the best bullpen pitchers in all of baseball last year with a 1.73 ERA and 0.80 WHIP across 64 appearances.
His 45 saves in 48 chances led all American League closers and he struck out 57 batters while walking only 14. And, yet, only a couple of clubs have let it known that they have interest in the right-hander.
Most teams simply want to avoid the lofty price tag. In a world where Joaquin Benoit can score a three-year, $16.5 million deal, Soriano should be able to command — or at least ask for — a four-year contract worth close to $25 million.
Whatever the case, it seems like the White Sox are at least investigating Soriano as a possible replacement for Bobby Jenks. SI.com’s Jon Heyman said Saturday that there “seems to be interest” coming from the south side of Chicago, though money may be a real problem. The White Sox have already handed out a couple of big contracts this offseason and would really have to stretch their budget to get something done.
It may take another week or two for the 31-year-old’s market to fully develop.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.