Blue Jays sign reliever Rafael Soriano to minor league deal


The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran reliever Rafael Soriano to a minor league deal including an invitation to spring training

Rafael Soriano is the newest member of the Toronto Blue Jays growing stable of bullpen depth.

The 36-year-old right hander inked a minor league deal Sunday with an invitation to spring training.

Soriano did not sign until mid-June last season, but after a rocky start and some well below-average velocity numbers, he was placed on the D.L. with shoulder inflammation and eventually released on September 4th.

Looking to 2014 and the years prior, though, Soriano was (mostly) an All-Star calibre reliever.

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In the six seasons between 2009 and 2014, the Dominican made 384 appearances while recording 191 saves. He earned a 2.82 ERA over that time while striking out one batter per inning.

Returning his fastball velocity to previous levels will be priority number one for the aging reliever, but in the scenario that it bounces back, this could be a savvy piece of business for the Blue Jays to bring in an arm with legitimate closer’s experience.

It will be a humbling experience for Soriano even if he does surprise and crack the opening day roster, as all three of Drew Storen, Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil would be ahead of him in the pecking order for high-leverage innings.

This could be a reversal of roles, however, as Soriano’s presence in 2013-2014 with the Washington Nationals kept Storen from that ninth inning role.