Cubs manager Joe Maddon announced recently that he’s going to a closer-by-committee approach and now the team has signed free agent reliever Rafael Soriano, who saved 30-plus games in each of the past three seasons.
Last month Soriano fired his agent, Scott Boras, and scheduled a throwing session for interested teams to come watch him in an effort to land a job for the second half. He previously pitched for Maddon with the Rays in 2010, when Soriano saved a league-high 45 games.
Soriano had a very rough second half for the Nationals last season, which along with being 35 years old and reportedly holding out for big money led to him going unsigned. However, he has a long track record of late-inning excellence that includes a 2.85 ERA and 637 strikeouts in 631 career innings and Soriano has posted a sub-3.25 ERA in eight of the past nine seasons.
It’s a minor-league contract, so expect Soriano to make at least a few appearances in the minors to get back into game shape before joining the Cubs’ bullpen. And don’t be surprised if he’s pitching the ninth inning in Chicago relatively soon. James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the deal has a prorated base salary of $4.1 million, plus another $4 million in potential incentives.
Rafael Soriano is scheduled to hold a throwing session for interested teams next week in the Dominican Republic, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the free agent reliever could sign before then.
That’s according to Alan Nero, who replaced the fired Scott Boras as Soriano’s agent recently. Cafardo says the teams showing the most interest in Soriano are the Cardinals, Cubs, and Blue Jays.
Soriano has gone unsigned in part because he’s 35 years old and struggled badly down the stretch for the Nationals last season and in part because he (and Boras) held out for big-time money when it just wasn’t there all offseason.
Now that he’s apparently willing to accept a more reasonable offer in the name of simply finding a job for the second half he’d make plenty of sense for a lot of bullpens. Soriano has a 2.85 ERA in 631 career innings, including a 3.19 ERA last season and a sub-3.25 ERA in eight of the past nine years.
Unsigned free agent reliever Rafael Soriano recently fired agent Scott Boras and now he’s invited teams to attend a throwing session in the Dominican Republic on June 11, according to Shi Davidi of Toronto Sportsnet.
For months reports had Soriano (and Boras) holding out for a big contract, but at this point presumably the 35-year-old right-hander has realized that isn’t going to happen and he simply wants to find a job for the second half.
Soriano has a lengthy track record of late-inning success, including good overall numbers last season, but he was a mess in the second half while losing the Nationals’ closer job and clearly teams no longer viewed him as an elite reliever worth investing big on.