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.
Yesterday several reports had the Marlins expressing interest in unsigned veteran closer Rafael Soriano, with the caveat that Soriano and agent Scott Boras were still holding out for a lot more money than Miami wanted to spend.
Apparently whatever interest was there is gone, because Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins “are no longer considering Soriano as a bullpen addition.”
It was seemingly a decent fit given that the Marlins just demoted Steve Cishek from the closer role and don’t have an obvious replacement, but Soriano continuing to ask for mid-offseason money in mid-May may have been a non-starter considering the 35-year-old’s second-half struggles last year.
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.
Nationals reliever Craig Stammen has been diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon and will undergo surgery that’s expected to end his season.
Stammen was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with what the Nationals called forearm tightness. While not a big name, Stammen has logged 70-plus innings in each of the past three seasons and has a 2.80 ERA since shifting to the bullpen full time.
As for possible bullpen help … Rafael Soriano is still available as a free agent, but there’s been zero indication that the Nationals are open to bringing their former closer back even in a setup role.