After going unsigned two months into the season, veteran reliever Rafael Soriano agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs earlier this week. However, it’s going to be a while before he joins the major league bullpen.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said today that he doesn’t expect Soriano to help until after the All-Star break. In other words, he’s about a month away. The 35-year-old is currently throwing at the team’s Dominican Republic academy and will almost certainly need to pitch in a handful of minor league games before being activated.
Soriano posted a 3.19 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio over 62 innings with the Nationals last season, but he lost his closer job down the stretch following a rough second half. Per James Wagner of the Washington Post, he’ll make a prorated $4.1 million salary with the Cubs and could earn an additional $4 million in bonuses for games finished and appearances.
Maddon recently pulled Hector Rondon from a save chance, which has led to all sorts of speculation about the team’s closer situation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Cubs and Blue Jays are among the teams who have had recent trade talks with the Phillies about Jonathan Papelbon.
Rafael Soriano remains unsigned almost two months into the season, but Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com hears that the Cubs are among several teams who have considered bringing the veteran reliever aboard.
Soriano, 35, is currently training in the Dominican Republic and has been throwing to live hitters in preparation for game action. His agent, Scott Boras, told Mooney on Thursday that teams are “reaching out” and he’s “pretty close to structuring a deal for him.”
The Marlins were briefly mentioned as a possible fit last week with Steve Cishek being moved out of the closer role, but they apparently aren’t willing to give Soriano the salary he covets. The Cubs entered play Thursday with a disappointing 4.20 ERA out of their bullpen, but Hector Rondon isn’t in any danger to lose his closer job. If the price is right, they’d likely look at Soriano as a set-up man.
Soriano posted a 3.19 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 62 innings with the Nationals last season, but he really struggled during the second half and found himself booted from the closer role in September.
Thanks to a little help from the Mets, the Cubs rallied for a 6-5 win this afternoon at Wrigley Field to finish off a four-game sweep.
The Mets got out to an early 5-1 lead behind two home runs from Anthony Recker, a solo shot from Wilmer Flores, and a two-run single from John Mayberry, Jr., which chased Travis Wood from the ballgame. However, the Cubs tied things up against Jon Niese by batting around in the bottom of the fifth inning. A throwing error from Wilmer Flores helped open the door for more damage, but Niese gave up four hits and a walk in the frame.
Niese stuck around until the seventh inning when he gave up a one-out single to Dexter Fowler before hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. He was relieved by Hansel Robles, who got Kris Bryant to fly out to right field, but Fowler moved over to third base on the play and eventually came around to score the go-ahead run when Recker was charged with a passed ball during Starlin Castro’s at-bat. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon followed with scoreless innings to finish off the victory for Chicago.
This was the Cubs’ first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 29-June 1, 2008 against the Rockies and their first four-game sweep against the Mets since August 6-9, 1992.
The Mets are 7-12 since their 11-game winning streak and now sit at 20-15 on the year, just one game ahead of the Nationals in the National League East. As for the Cubs, they improved to 19-15 on the year with the sweep and find themselves five games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central.