The front office is searching for ways to add reliable arms to a bullpen that had shown improvement in recent days leading up to the series against the Nationals. According to a report from Nick Cafardo, the Cubs are one of three teams being the most aggressive with free agent Rafael Soriano.
Rafael Soriano has an open workout scheduled for Thursday in the Dominican Republic. And the Cubs, along with the Blue Jays and Cardinals, are very interested in him to the point that he could sign before then.
Rafael Soriano recently switched agents from Scott Boras to Alan Nero and Octagon. The Cubs had already been linked, rather heavily to Soriano before he hired Joe Maddon and Jason Hammel’s agent. Joe Maddon answered questions about Soriano prior to Friday night’s game at Nationals Park.
Maddon has a relationship with Soriano from their time together in Tampa. Maddon admitted teams are “always looking to get better” and that he and Soriano, or “Raffy,” have a “very good relationship.” Maddon said he has not talked to Soriano and he doesn’t know where the Cubs are in the process.
According to Maddon, Rafael Soriano knows how to pitch and isn’t going to just try and blow hitters away.
After he switched agents and signed with Alan Nero, Soriano said he is willing to take on any role in a bullpen. He doesn’t have to be a closer. He would like to be in a position to help a team win games.
Questions have been raised as to how much it would benefit a team to sign him at this point in his career. With the Cardinals having interest, there could be more left in his tank than he showed at the end of last year with the Nationals.
Soriano apparently has a very good relationship with Maddon from their season together in Tampa, where he had one of the best years of his career. Soriano doesn’t have the best reputation, but Maddon made it work.
In 64 games for the Rays in 2010, Rafael Soriano 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 and averaged two walks and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Soriano appeared in 64 games for the Nationals a year ago. 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.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could decide to roll the dice and see if Soriano can help the backend of a bullpen that has been shaky with the game on the line. Seemingly every game is coming down to the end and Soriano has gotten the job done on teams with expectations for a majority of his career.
Adding Soriano to the roster will only cost money and not any of the prospect currency the front office has built up over the last three years. And with the level-headed Alan Nero calling the shots, it will not be cheap to sign Rafael Soriano but based on the agent’s history, it will be a reasonable contract for a player on the backend of his career.