The Chicago Cubs started the new campaign with a solid 12-8 start in the month of April, but should be sitting at the top of the N.L. Central after their bullpen allowed multiple games to slip away.
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Now in case you missed it, a former reliever for the Tampa Bay Rays and Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon could be on the clubs radar as the team searches to add some reinforcement to this struggling bullpen.
There’s a handful of potential free agents that could get a call from this front-office in hopes of acquiring their services, but Grant Balfour may be the front runner if or when this happens.
Balfour, 37-years-old, has struggled over the last couple seasons after losing the closer role in Tampa Bay. He was recently designated for assignment by the Rays after picking up a second stint with the club when a two-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles fell through due to problems with his physical.
Maddon removed the closer title from Balfour after just 24 games to begin the 2014 campaign behind a 6.46 ERA. Balfour could be the cheapest option available, but would it be worth rolling the dice, risking the chance of keeping things the same instead of improving something they’re trying to improve as a whole.
This is where Rafael Soriano enters the picture. According to CBS Sports the other day, the Miami Marlins were reportedly interested in signing the seasoned veteran, then talks eventually fell apart as it was later reported by NBC Sports.
For those of you who don’t know, Scott Boras just so happens to be his agent. Which could mean his asking price could be through the roof after finishing the last three seasons with an ERA under four. Last season in his final year with the Washington Nationals, Soriano posted a 1.13 WHIP, 59/14 K/BB ratio, 32 saves, 4-1 win/loss record and a 3.19 ERA in 62 innings of work.
So far through 13 years of big league experience, Soriano carries a 2.85 ERA with 207 saves and 627 strikeouts. Despite a rough second half, Soriano was one of the leagues’ best closers and still has some left in the tank to eventually get back to that form but could be hurting himself if he’s asking for too much.
He is 35-years-old and there aren’t many teams who will want to throw him anywhere between $4-$7 million just for one year.