Report: Blue Jays In on Rafael Soriano
It feels like forever since there has been a good old fashioned Toronto Blue Jays rumor, doesn’t it? Well you may enjoy the little tidbit that came out earlier about free agent reliever, Rafael Soriano. Or, you may not, depending on how much stock you put into rumors from Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. (h/t TSN.ca)
Apparently, Cafardo tells us that the Blue Jays are “aggressive” in their pursuit of Soriano. Now, it is unclear exactly what aggressive means, but it is interesting that they are being mentioned in the same discussion.
Soriano had been a hold out from the off season, perhaps in search of that one last lucrative contract. Whether that is on the advice of “super” agent, Scott Boras or of his own choosing, it hasn’t exactly worked out for him. And, whether it prompted the parting of ways betwixt the two, Soriano is now represented by Nero and has a workout set for June 11. Now, Cafardo says that he could sign even sooner, but that might be a risk given his age and the fact that he’s missed more than two months of this season already.
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Soriano is 35 yrs old. Depending on his workout regime, he could have a hard time sliding right into a MLB bullpen. But, teams who are willing to sign him and wait for him to get game ready may be intrigued by the potential he brings. The righty has amassed 207 career saves, with the bulk of those not coming until 2009 (27 that year). Since then, he’s collected 40+ saves 3 times (2010, 2012, 2013) and 32 last year for the Washington Nationals. In 2014, he put up 8.56 K/9 and 2.76 BB/9.
This could be a very appealing option for a team like the Blue Jays. Initially, one might be a little skeptical as to why Soriano has not been swooped up yet. Is it a dip in velocity that has been concerning? Well, according to Fangraphs.com, his velocity has lost 95 in 2007 to 91 last year, but he’s not seen much of a dip over the last two. And, he’s 35. There is bound to be some decline in velocity. In fact, his fastball was actually worth much more last season (1.40 runs above replacement per 100 pitches- wFA/C). So, that can’t be the reason.
On the surface, it would appear that he just thought he’d get more than what what out there. There weren’t the heavy offers he was hoping for. Which, may play into the Blue Jays’ hands. We’ve heard they have about $7M (give or take, depending on the day) to work with. Would Soriano be OK with part of that? Perhaps, $2M or $3M?
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Would the Blue Jays? Do they want to blow their purse on a closer, who may not be what they’d hoped at 35 and two months behind? They may be interested in not having to surrender a draft pick since it is this far into the season AND not having to work with Scott Boras.
Do they even need Soriano? The number of victories in one run games would suggest that Soriano could help. IF the club is pursuing him as a closer, they’d have to move everyone down one spot. Brett Cecil could be a great set up type guy. Or, Aaron Loup or Steve Delabar could also fill in those 7th or 8th innings. It certainly adds another option. But, some will argue that the bullpen is not the place to upgrade. At least, not the spot that will yield the most impact.
Some fans will scream that the Blue Jays need a starter more. Others will say that the position depth is lacking badly. Chris Colabello playing in the outfield is their evidence. Others have no idea where to start to help this team turn things around. Either way, it is good to hear that there is some action happening…at least in the rumor mill.