Righty reliever option off the board: Cubs sign Rafael Soriano

6/9 to 6/10 Series Preview: Washington Nationals
Game 58: Tanaka Tuesday
(Rich Lam/Getty)
(Rich Lam/Getty)

A right-handed bullpen option has come off the board. The Cubs signed Rafael Soriano to a minor league contract earlier today, the team announced. James Wagner says Soriano will get the pro-rated portion of a $4.1M base salary plus $4M in bonuses based on appearances and games finished. I’m guessing he’ll pitch in a few minor league games before joining Chicago’s bullpen, where they’ve had a bit of a revolving door at closer of late.

Soriano fired Scott Boras a week or two ago and was scheduled to throw for scouts later this week, but apparently the Cubs were aggressive and decided to make an offer before other teams got a look at him. Every team would take Soriano on a minor league contract, but Soriano has a say too, and he presumably felt Chicago was his best opportunity. Plus he played for manager Joe Maddon with the Rays, so there’s some familiarity there.

Late last week Brian Cashman said the Yankees want to add a right-handed reliever — “I do need to find a right-handed arm for the bullpen here at some point,” said the GM — to their five-lefty bullpen, and earlier today they signed righty Sergio Santos to a minor league contract, basically just to see if he has anything left. I expect them to cycle through internal options (Nick Rumbelow? Branden Pinder? Jose Ramirez?) and scrap heap guys like Santos before making any sort of trade.

The lack of right-handed relievers isn’t a major problem right now because those lefties can get righties out. Still, it would be nice to add some balance down the road. The Yankees were never connected to Soriano, but he was speculated as a bullpen target simply because he’s a righty and was available for nothing but money. Then again, the Yankees know him firsthand and might not have been interest in a reunion. Either way, expect the search for the righty reliever to continue.

6/9 to 6/10 Series Preview: Washington Nationals
Game 58: Tanaka Tuesday
  • RetroRob

    Maddon knows him from his time in Tampa as noted. The Cubs are also in a typical closer-rotation period with Maddon, so he probably has a chance to close games, something he won’t get many places. That could give him a chance to hit some of the incentives. Not sure he’s a good match for that ballpark, though.

    I still think there’s a good right hander coming from within without even counting the AAA options. Just don’t see how they can fit both Warren and Nova in the rotation. CC is not moving.

    • Chien Ming The Merciless

      6 man rotation to also take the load off of Tanaka and Pineada so they’re fresh come playoff time? (knock on wood)

      • RetroRob

        I can see them deploying it from time to time, but to carry a true six man rotation they need to cut a player somewhere else. Not easy as they need to then have one less reliever or one less bench player.

  • Jacob Lindgreddarden

    And there’s just no excuse for this FO not signing Rafy, Mike. Instead they sign this Santos guy and expect that to be the cure of all ills. Wipe your hands together, folks, the righty reliever problem is solved.

    • Chip

      Well, here’s an excuse…In Chicago Soriano might have the opportunity to close, which, as a closer, he probably wants.

      In other words, this ain’t a video game. Just because you want a player doesn’t mean you get the player. So quit whining.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Its Eddard, dude. Got to let those ones slide.

      • Literally Figurative

        You are wasting rational explanations on eddard. His post are there to be read, chuckle at the stupidity, and move on

    • gageagainstthemachine
  • Hankflorida

    The Yanks do not have to play with fire and sign Soriano as when Nova get back, Eovaldi may be headed to the pen as he has to fine tune his slider in long relief or just overpower some right handed bats before Betances and Miller make their entrance.

    • The Great Gonzo

      I don’t think the Yankees traded two pieces of the big club to give up on Eovaldi (who, by the way, has pitched well) after a few quick months because he needs some slider work.

      But what do I know.

      • Hankflorida

        Eovaldi will be back in the rotation once he developes more pitches. As I said before, he can blow some right handed batters away when they first see him but going around a few times, he can be hit and hard.

        • The Great Gonzo

          He’s literally done NOTHING to lose his rotation gig, despite the slider issue you’ve created. You are reaching.

          • Hankflorida

            Nova is coming back and CC is here to stay. Eovaldi is a work in progress but his fast ball has no bite and he needs more pitches to keep the hitters off balance.

            • gageagainstthemachine

              And Nova has how many innings in him as a starter this season coming off TJS? Guarantee of command (which was never a given)? If anyone is destined for pen time, it’s him.

            • Literally Figurative

              But what has he done that deserves a demotion. He hasn’t been worse than what we expected, so why send him to the pen?

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          When was Eovaldi removed from the rotation?
          I must have missed that memo.

    • Still Stucky

      Quite clear you want it to happen, but you don’t really think Eovaldi is going to bullpen, do you?

  • dave_8

    I have a hunch he wasn’t a target.

  • Mike Myers

    Boras just lost out on 4-800k. Must be nice to not care at all…..

  • The Great Gonzo

    I mean, he wasn’t bad last season, was there something we didn’t know? Did Boras just plain old screw this one up?

    Here’s to you, he of the iron glare and untucked jersey. May he have the best of luck, health and success (against everyone except the Yankees).

    • RetroRob

      He had a bad second half, but he also had an off-the-charts good first half. In the end, I think his stats normalized to what he was. The bad second half and losing his closer job at the end lowered his value. My guess is Boras played hardball and his client remained out of work. What’s odd is it only took a week with his new representation to get a deal. Surprised he didn’t lower his demands.

  • Still Stucky

    Yankees always manage to find serviceable BP arms, and they already have a ton of depth. They’ll find someone who can perform, probably internally.

  • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

    That deal was too rich for Yanks blood?

  • kikojones

    I have a feeling neither side had an interest in reuniting in the Bronx.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yep. His best case scenario with NYY is 7th inning guy. He could be closing for the Cubs next weekend.

      • kikojones

        But his tenure here seemed strained and weird, albeit productive; both sides making the best of an uncomfortable situation? I dunno…

        • Adam

          Cashman coming out before May and saying he didn’t want to sign Soriano was probably what did it.

  • Y’s Guy

    The last 2 aces we faced self destructed. Let’s go for three!

  • Deep Thoughts

    Cubs equipment manager: “Well, we’ve got all these Soriano jerseys collecting dust in the clubhouse store room…” Theo: “Eh…why the hell not then.”