Cubs News: Rafael Soriano reportedly signed to minor league deal


Soriano agrees to minor league deal with Cubs

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times

, the

Chicago Cubs

have signed 13-year veteran

Rafael Soriano

to a minor league deal. The Cubs were one of several teams in the running for his services. Soriano hasn’t pitched in the majors since last year.

When you look at how his signing played out, it seemed the Cubs were the front-runners all along. Soriano was an All-Star for Joe Maddon and the Rays in 2010, and recently switched agents to Alan Nero who, of course, represents Maddon.

The 35-year-old right-hander has been a closer for much of his career, saving 207 games in 13 seasons. He’s converted 84 percent of his save opportunities while posting a career 2.85 ERA. He played for five different teams in his career, most recently the Washington Nationals.

Just last week, Maddon had discussed his relationship with Soriano from their time together in Tampa Bay.

"“Me and Raffy have a really good relationship,” Maddon said last week. “I haven’t spoken to him. But I like the guy. He knows how to pitch.“The thing I always talked about with him as a closer was he was a guy that didn’t’ just throw the ball 100 mph. He and I used to have a lot of conversations about how we attack certain hitters in a game, because he really sees things. He’d be in the bullpen, and he watches really well, and he’s got definite ideas on how to get out hitters. I’ve always appreciated his pitch-ability.”"

It’s likely Soriano will spend some time in the minors before coming to the Cubs, but his time there won’t be long. With Maddon recently moving to a “closer by committee” system following Hector Rondon‘s struggles, it’s hard to predict if Soriano is the heir apparent closer, or just another arm to help this struggling pen.

Whatever the case, I’m happy with this move, as well as when they get back Neil Ramirez. Hopefully, that will put an end to the Brian Schlitter shuttle between Iowa and Chicago.

Next: A look at the Cubs bullpen options