Patrick Mooney reported the Cubs “are looking at Rafael Soriano as another way to upgrade their bullpen.”
Scott Boras attended Thursday’s game at PETCO Park and apparently held court with the media. Boras was there to watch Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. And from the way it sounds, provide an update another one of his clients.
Rafael Soriano is training in the Dominican Republic and facing batters to stay ready while he waits to sign with a contender according to the report. Mooney explained the Cubs “are one of several teams that have kicked the tires on Soriano.”
Boras told Mooney that he thinks Soriano “could help about 10 teams now” and that “teams are reaching out.” Boras pointed out that he is “pretty close to structuring a deal for him.” Boras did not say the negotiations are down to one team, leaving options open for his client.
According to the report, the Cubs “probably aren’t quite that motivated or desperate enough to pay top dollar” for Soriano.
It is questionable at this point in his career how much Rafael Soriano could help the Cubs. Soriano pitched his way out of the closer’s job in Washington last season. And the Nationals passed on picking up his option this year.
Rafael Soriano has a history with Joe Maddon from their season together in Tampa. Soriano put together one of the best years of his career as Maddon’s closer. Soriano doesn’t have the best reputation, but Maddon made it work for at least one season.
Soriano pitched in 64 games for the Rays in 2010 and allowed 36 hits with 14 walks and 52 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings (1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 2.81 FIP). Soriano saved 45 games for Maddon five years ago and averaged two walks and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
The front office is exploring ways to improve the bullpen. And the Cubs should be looking at ways to bolster the pitching staff, both with a starter and at least one reliever. It is questionable how much Soriano could help, especially if he is looking for a closer’s job.
There are other relievers that are expected to be moved that have already been connected to the Cubs that would seem to upgrade the bullpen more than Soriano. The front office will have to determine if it makes more sense to sign a free agent like Rafael Soriano that would only cost money to add to the roster or if the Cubs should spend some of the prospect currency they have built up to acquire a reliever, or two, before the deadline.