Rafael Soriano making strides, but won’t reclaim closer’s role yet

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Nationals reliever Rafael Soriano has made some mechanical adjustments, which he has put to the test in a couple of low-leverage situations recently. The 34-year-old said of the changes, “Everything is good. I’m feeling good,” per a report from James Wagner of the Washington Post.

Soriano blew his seventh save of the season on September 5 at home against the Phillies, which included a rare Ben Revere home run. Manager Matt Williams demoted Soriano from the closer’s role so that he could focus on 1) standing taller on the mound; 2) keep his front shoulder closed; and 3) staying low in the strike zone. In his latest two appearances, he’s been able to do just that and has had better results, striking out two in the process.

For now, though, the Nationals plan to stick with Drew Storen in the closer’s role. Storen has notched the save in each of his four games since Soriano’s demotion. In four innings, the right-hander has struck out six and allowed two hits while walking none.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.