The front office added bullpen depth to the organization Tuesday when the Cubs acquired Yoervis Medina from the Mariners for Welington Castillo. The bullpen is one of the areas the Cubs are expected to address before the deadline and are believed to be interested in RHP Jonathan Papelbon.
According to Jon Heyman, another veteran reliever the Cubs may consider is RHP Rafael Soriano.
It is unclear how much interest the Cubs may have in signing Rafael Soriano. The Cubs would not have to give up anything but money to add Soriano, who remains on the open market, to the roster.
It appeared last week that Soriano was on the verge of signing with the Marlins. But the floundering Fish passed on signing the 35-year old Soriano.
Rafael Soriano lost his closer’s job last season with the Nationals, the second of a two-year, $28 million contract ($14 million per season). And Washington decided not to pick up his $14 million option for the 2015 season. Scott Boras hasn’t been able to find a taker for Soriano six weeks into the season. Reportedly Soriano is looking for a closer’s job and salary.
While the Cubs are looking for ways to bolster the bullpen, there are questions has to how much Soriano has left. Plus, he hasn’t pitched this year … which means he is probably going to need at least three weeks to get ready to face Major League hitters.
Soriano pitched in 64 games for the Nationals last season. He allowed 23 runs, 22 earned, on 51 hits with 19 walks and 52 strikeouts in 62 innings. Soriano was 32-for-39 in save opportunities. During his two years with the Nationals, Soriano was 7-4 in 132 games with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and 3.38 FIP. Soriano gave up 116 hits with 36 walks and 110 strikeouts in 128 2/3 innings.
As is the case with Jonathan Papelbon, there is a connection with the Cubs and Soriano.
Joe Maddon was his skipper in Tampa when Soriano turned in his best season in the majors. Soriano appeared in 64 games for the Rays in 2010 and gave up 36 hits with 14 walks and 52 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings (1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 2.81 FIP). Soriano save 45 games that year. Soriano averaged two walks and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Jon Heyman linking the Cubs to Rafael Soriano might have more to do with Scott Boras trying to drum up interest in his client than anything else. While it would only cost money to add Soriano to the mix in the bullpen, it is questionable as to how much he could help at this point of his career. And it’s probably a better use of the team’s resources to allocate what it would take to sign Rafael Soriano in other players.
The front office is looking for ways to give Joe Maddon a more reliable bullpen. But the Cubs already have better options on the roster than Rafael Soriano.