Unsigned reliever Rafael Soriano finally finds a home with the Cubs

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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.

Clayton Kershaw returning to Dodgers on 1-year, $20M deal

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LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023 after signing a one-year, $20 million deal.

For the second straight year, the Dodgers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Instead, they gave him additional time to mull his future, and he once again decided to stay with the only franchise he’s ever played for during his 15-year major league career.

The 34-year-old left-hander was 12-3 with 2.28 ERA in 22 starts last season. He struck out 137 and walked 23. Kershaw made his ninth All-Star team and started the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career at Dodger Stadium.

Last April, he became the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader with 2,697. He reached 2,800 strikeouts in his last start of the regular season on Oct. 5 against Colorado. Kershaw ranks 24th all-time with 2,807.

Kershaw has a career record of 197-87 with a 2.48 ERA. He won his only World Series title in 2020, when the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay during the pandemic-shortened season.