When Francisco Rodriguez resigned with the Brewers, the expectation was Rafael Soriano would be the next bullpen arm to be signed. Soriano has not drawn a notable amount of interest this offseason, however according to ESPN's Darren Wolfson, the Twins have inquired about watching Soriano throw and may have already done so earlier this offseason.
Minnesota is looking to upgrade its bullpen, and Soriano, 35, has the most experience of the other available options. In 62.0 innings with the Nationals last season, Soriano posted a 3.11 ERA and 3.08 FIP. He saved 32 games for Washington last season, and could be a productive setup man for the Twins.
Soriano, who is a Scott Boras client, saw his strikeouts per nine innings increase from 6.89 in 2013 to 8.56 last season, and had success limiting the number of home runs he allowed. While Soriano was productive throughout the first half of the season, he struggled throughout September and lost the closing job as a result.
Over the course of his final 18 appearances in 2014, Soriano allowed 13 runs in 16.2 innings pitched and posted a 7.02 ERA. The inability to finish the season on a positive note may have plagued Soriano, and according to ESPN's Buster Olney, scouts were concerned with the way Soriano's pitches "evaporated" as the season progressed.
Since Twins closer Glen Perkins had a forearm injury last season and has been plagued by oblique issues this spring, Minnesota is seeking depth for the back of its bullpen. While Perkins has established himself as a consistent closer, saving 34 contests a season ago, the Twins' bullpen unit lacks veteran arms. Brian Duensing and Casey Fien are possible setup options, and Tim Stauffer will likely earn a bullpen spot despite an inconsistent spring.
Mike Pelfrey, Tommy Milone, and Trevor May are all battling for the fifth spot in Minnesota's rotation, and any of the three could also pitch out of the bullpen at some point in 2015. Non-roster invitee Blaine Boyer will likely make the squad, and Rule 5 draft pick J.R. Graham may also win a spot. Ultimately, the club is seeking an experienced setup arm, and Soriano could prove to be just that.