According to reports, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Rafael Soriano to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
According to reports, the Toronto Blue Jays continued their stockpiling efforts by signing reliever, Rafael Soriano.
#BlueJays sign Rafael Soriano to a minor-league contract with invitation to spring training
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) February 28, 2016
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) February 28, 2016
The former closer will get an invitation to Spring Training in the hopes of possibly winning a bullpen spot with the big league club. Despite having roberto Osuna and Drew Storen competing for the closer’s role and Brett Cecil as a late inning option, the club could very well use some more depth options. A guy like Sorian comes with late inning experience and success.
He is the proud owner of over 200 MLB saves with the Braves, Rays, Yankees and Nationals, including 3 seasons with 40 or more.
However, he has not been able to live up to that since 2014. The 36 year old pitched a total of 15.2 innings in 2015 spread across the Cubs AA, AAA and big league teams. His shoulder became an issue last year. Some had feared that his stuff has simply lost its effectiveness, which is likely why he did not even sign with a club until the Cubs took a chance on him. The gamble didn’t pay off as his shoulder limited his time on the field.
This could go several ways. the Blue Jays are taking a flyer on a guy who has a career K rate of almost 25% to go with a walk rate of 7.7%. His career WHIP sits at a nifty 1.08. Soriano has watched his velocity drop steadily since he started pitching. Once sitting at almost 95 mph, he is now down to under 91 mph. He’s got a fastball, cutter, slider and change, all losing their impact.
We should really file this under the “There is no such thing as a bad minor league deal”. If Soriano is healthy and can contribute, the Blue Jays will have a middle inning guy who could be run out there for lopsided affairs and save the bullpen jewels. He has had success at the big league level and could end up contributing. But, if he doesn’t, the Buffalo Bisons could surely use an experienced arm.
Of course, even if this deal proves to be a complete waste, the club had the option of releasing Sorian without much of a penalty at all.
What is perhaps more interesting than the deal itself is watching the Blue Jays continue to add depth. Signing more and more of these types of deals this winter only creates flexibility and potential options. We shouldn’t expect that all of them will greatly benefit the big league team. Some may help out a AAA roster that looked rather empty just a short while ago. Others are just a shot in the dark; a possibly feeble attempt at catching lightning in a bottle. Whichever this Soriano deal is remains to be seen.
*Featured Image Credit: Alan Kotok UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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