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Cubs sign Rafael Soriano to minor-league deal

The closer finally comes off the market after a long and chaotic free agency period.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have signed reliever Rafael Soriano to a minor-league deal, as first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Soriano is the last major free agent from last year's crop to sign with a club, and may require significant time in the minors to get ready to contribute.

According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, Soriano will receive a $4.1 million prorated base on his deal if he reaches the majors, with an additional $4 million in incentives available for games finished and appearances.

Soriano, 35, had a chaotic seven-and-a-half month free agency saga in which he had his club option declined by the Nationals and replaced agent Scott Boras with Alan Nero of Octagon. He reportedly drew interest from multiple clubs, including the Mariners, Twins, Blue Jays and Tigers, but ultimately will become a candidate to contribute to the Cubs' bullpen during the stretch run.

In 64 appearances for the Nationals last season, Soriano posted a 4-1 record and 3.19 ERA with 32 saves and an 8.6 K/9 ratio. His struggles in the second half of the season and age likely made teams wary about signing him, causing him to settle for a non-guaranteed contract with Chicago.

Soriano may be a candidate to become the Cubs' closer, as the team has used Hector Rondon, Jason Motte and Pedro Strop in the role so far this season. The former All-Star pitched for Joe Maddon with the Rays in 2010, posting a career-best 1.73 ERA and 45 saves while finishing eighth in the voting for AL Cy Young award.