Chicago is considering adding a reliever and a former Washington closer is among the potential options. Rafael Soriano has yet to sign with a major league squad, and according to CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney, the Cubs are interested in adding Soriano to upgrade their bullpen.
Soriano, 35, has a notable amount of closing experience but did not sign with a team after failing to receive the contract he desired. Soriano posted a 3.19 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 62.0 innings with the Nationals last season. He has saved 42, 43, and 32 games over the last three seasons, respectively, and had his best year with the Rays in 2010, during which he posted a 1.73 ERA in 62.1 innings.
Although he did not sign with a club last offseason, Soriano has been facing live hitters in the Dominican Republic and as a result may be prepared to immediately join a competitive club. Several clubs have considered adding Soriano, but the Cubs may have an edge considering their roster contains numerous Scott Boras clients. Mooney adds Boras did not exclusively speak of Chicago's interest but instead hinted that he will wait for a top dollar deal. However, the Cubs may not be motivated to spend big on a late innings option towards the end of May.
Soriano's 207 career saves make him a valuable asset and the fact that he can be added to a roster without losing prospects (in a trade) is significant. He notably struggled towards the end of last season and is coming off of a two-year, $28 million deal with the Nationals. Soriano also brings postseason experience, and if the Cubs have playoff aspirations, adding an arm that pitched with Washington, New York, and Tampa Bay in October may prove to be beneficial.
Chicago's 4.20 bullpen ERA and seven blown saves have resulted in the organization pursuing other relief options. James Russell, Yoervis Medina, and Neil Ramirez could all contribute pitching out of the Cubs' bullpen, but Soriano may prove to be the best available arm to aid an inconsistent bullpen.