Free agent reliever Rafael Soriano will have an open throwing session for Major League clubs in the Dominican Republic next Thursday, his new representatives at Octagon announced (via Twitter). Soriano jumped from Scott Boras to Octagon last week, presumably due to the fact that he remains unsigned in early June.
Soriano, 35, did not go without interest from big league clubs this winter. He was tied to a number of clubs, including the Blue Jays, Marlins, Cubs and Twins at various points over the past several months — in some cases, even after the regular season began. However, no club has made an offer that was to the liking of Soriano and his now former agent. While their specific asking price remains unknown, reports following the Marlins’ most recent interest indicated that Miami simply didn’t feel Soriano would be enough of an upgrade over its internal options after watching him throw.
The former Nationals, Rays and Yankees closer will have the opportunity to convince other teams that Miami was incorrect in its assessment next week. However, Miami’s supposed review of Soriano’s arsenal isn’t the first underwhelming take on the right-hander’s arsenal that has been reported. Late in the offseason, Buster Olney of ESPN said that scouts felt Soriano’s stuff evaporated late in the 2014 season, as he pitched to an 6.48 ERA in the second half and ultimately lost his grip on the closer’s role to Drew Storen. Of course, quite a bit of time has passed both since that report and since the end of last season, so it’s entirely possible that Soriano is throwing much better than he was last September.
Earlier today, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he’s hoping to add a right-handed reliever to his bullpen, and obviously the club is more than familiar with Soriano, who spent two seasons there and served as the club’s closer in 2012 when Mariano Rivera was lost for the season due to a torn ACL.
The Blue Jays have long been said to be eyeing relief help, and while they clearly weren’t comfortable meeting his asking price in the past, it’s possible that Soriano’s financial goals have changed with new representation in tow. The Braves last night were said to be on the lookout for bullpen help as well, although that particular report indicated that they’d prefer not to spend big money to add it.
The Mariners and Dodgers are among the other teams reportedly seeking bullpen help, although as is the case each summer, there’s no shortage of clubs looking for relief upgrades. In a recent poll conducted by MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth, our readers pegged the Cubs, Blue Jays and Tigers, respectively, as the likeliest teams to add Soriano.