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Cubs Sign Rafael Soriano to Minor League Contract


More than two months into the season, reliever Rafael Soriano has found a home. Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs announced they have signed the 35 year old right-hander for the rest of the 2015 season. The deal is worth $4.1 million in base salary, with incentives possibly earning him up to another $4 million.

The signing makes sense for both sides. Soriano recently fired agent Scott Boras, due to his high contract demands being a reason he had yet to find a team. Joe Maddon had announced the Cubbies will be going with a closer-by-committee role after seeing Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte all earn saves in their series against the Nationals. Soriano likely saw this as one of the faster paths to getting back to the ninth inning, while still playing for a contender, as the 30-25 Cubs are in second place in the NL Central, and currently are in the second Wild Card spot.

Soriano has 207 career saves and a 2.85 ERA over 13 seasons. His free agent stock was hit hard by a late 2014 collapse that saw his 0.97 first half ERA balloon to 6.48 after the All-Star Break. His BABIP splits also exploded from .207 to .358 before current Nationals closer Drew Storen took over the ninth inning. Soriano does not have much immediate fantasy value, but the committee approach in Chicago leaves his production as the sole factor to his role in the Cubs bullpen.

While the Cubs signed Soriano to a minor league deal, he will likely only spend a few games in Triple-A before being promoted to the big leagues. The Cubs 3.68 bullpen ERA is among the worst in the NL, and the young relievers could benefit from having another veteran arm with them as a they make a run to October baseball.