Here’s the latest on a number of free agent or trade candidate relievers…
- The Astros have discussed former Nationals closer Drew Storen as a potential backup plan, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Storen could become of more interest to Houston if it fails to land one of its bigger-name targets like Aroldis Chapman, Jake McGee or Ken Giles.
- The Astros’ search for bullpen help is the major focus of this Houston Winter Meetings preview piece from MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Within the piece, McTaggart notes that there’s mutual interest between the Astros and free agent Tony Sipp for the lefty to return to Houston though the price tag remains an issue. It could be that the Astros will focus on landing a big name closer first and then address other relief needs like adding a sorely-needed lefty to the bullpen.
- The Cubs, Padres and Twins have shown the most interest in Fernando Rodney, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Rodney would ideally prefer to return to closing, a source tells Berardino, so the Padres could have the edge in this respect since the back of their bullpen is wide open with Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit gone. Rodney followed up three years of excellent closer numbers from 2012-14 with a disastrous stint in early 2015 that cost him his stopper job with the Mariners, though he regained some old form after catching on as a setup man with the Cubs late in the season.
- There haven’t been any developments between the Twins and Joakim Soria since the team made its initial contact, Berardino tweets. The Royals, Blue Jays, Giants, Rangers, Tigers and Red Sox have all been among the other teams linked to Soria this winter, though the latter two are said to be out of the running after their respective acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel. Soria is looking for a big salary in the form of a three-year deal in the $27MM range, which may eliminate at least a couple of those teams who were only looking at Soria as a setup reliever.
- Also from Berardino (via Twitter), Rafael Soriano is pitching well in the Dominican League and has drawn attention from a few MLB teams. The Twins aren’t one of those clubs.