White Sox have some interest in Rafael Soriano

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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.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however, and this season the descent has continued. Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a rebuild is in the club’s future.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.