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.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.