Rafael Soriano is the last of the unsigned prominent free agents, but that may be changing.
On the heels of Miami removing the struggling Steve Cishek from the closer role, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins have “expressed interest” in Soriano and “there has been some dialogue between the team and agent Scott Boras.”
However, according to Frisaro the 35-year-old right-hander’s asking price remains high and “Soriano isn’t the only alternative as the Marlins frantically try to figure out what to do about locking down the final outs of games.”
Soriano has plenty of closing experience, including saving 32 games with a 3.19 ERA for the Nationals last season, but he lost the job in the second half and posted a 7.29 ERA in his final 23 appearances.
Steve Cishek’s run as the Marlins’ closer is over–or at the very least, on hold–after back-to-back ugly blown saves Sunday and Monday.
Cishek has blown four saves and converted three saves this season while posting a 10.32 ERA in 13 appearances, and manager Mike Redmond has seen enough to start mixing in other options for the ninth inning:
Shrek [Cishek] has done a tremendous job for us, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. It’s tough to win in the big leagues, and when you get late leads, you’ve got to be able to lock them down.
For now Redmond said he plans to “mix and match” in the ninth inning, which likely means some combination of A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, and Mike Dunn.
There’s no getting around how awful Cishek has been this season, but he converted 39 of 43 save chances last season and came into this year with a career ERA of 2.98 in 269 innings.
UPDATE: Miami has “expressed interest” in veteran closer Rafael Soriano.
It’s already vote of confidence time in Philadelphia, where general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. praised manager Ryne Sandberg before the Phillies fell to 11-22 with a loss to the Pirates.
I’m happy with the way Ryno has gone about it. He’s on the same page as we are. It’s about giving young players opportunities and teaching them how to win. And that’s what we’re looking for from him, and that’s all we can ask of him. Do whatever he can with his staff to put these players in a position to improve. And that’s what he’s been doing.
Obviously we don’t want to cultivate a culture of losing. We obviously want the very opposite. For me it’s about having guys understand what it takes to win, and trying to play winning baseball. We might be a little challenged as far as overall talent at the major league level right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play a winning-type of baseball.
Sandberg is now 104-133 since taking over as Phillies manager in mid-2013, but Amaro seems to realize it’d be awfully tough to put the blame on the manager considering his own decision-making over the years.
Also, it would probably be even tougher to find any Phillies fans who agree that the team has been playing “a winning-type of baseball.”