Cubs

Cubs looking at Rafael Soriano as possible bullpen upgrade

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Cubs looking at Rafael Soriano as possible bullpen upgrade

SAN DIEGO — The Cubs are looking at Rafael Soriano as another way to upgrade their bullpen.

Soriano is still out there as a free agent, training in the Dominican Republic, facing live hitters and waiting to sign with a contender. The Cubs are one of several teams that have kicked the tires on Soriano, sources said, wanting to see if the 35-year-old right-hander could become another weapon for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs are already loaded with Scott Boras clients. The super-agent and his entourage made an appearance at Petco Park on Thursday, posting up behind home plate, mingling with Kris Bryant’s family and speaking to reporters.

“I think Soriano could help about 10 teams now,” Boras said. “He’s second in the National League in saves the last two years. Teams are reaching out. We’re pretty close to structuring a deal for him.”

[MORE CUBS: Cubs hope bullpen is finally coming together]

But that doesn’t necessarily mean Boras is down to negotiating exclusively with one team.

“Clubs are watching him pitch for the second and third times,” Boras said.

Boras declined to talk specifically about the Cubs and their level of involvement with Soriano. A source familiar with the team’s thinking said the Boras playbook means Soriano will wait for maximum leverage — and the Cubs probably aren’t quite that motivated or desperate enough to pay top dollar.

But Soriano does have 207 career saves, and it would only cost money — not the prospects it would take to do a deal at the trade deadline.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

As a reference point, Soriano is coming off a two-year, $28 million contract with the Washington Nationals. He saved 32 games last season but struggled after the All-Star break (6.48 ERA). He has pitched in five postseason series with the Nationals, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.

Maddon hoped there would be a confidence boost after five relievers combined to shut down the San Diego Padres and get the final 13 outs in Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory.

But the Cubs still began the day with seven blown saves and a 4.20 bullpen ERA, not what they expected from a group that appeared to be a strength on paper.

Theo Epstein’s front office has tried to fix the problem, signing James Russell, designating Phil Coke for assignment and acquiring Yoervis Medina from the Seattle Mariners in the Welington Castillo trade. Neil Ramirez would be another option, but it’s unclear when the hard-throwing right-hander will be able to contribute once he recovers from a shoulder injury.

Cubs Talk Podcast: What will David Ross' impact on the Cubs be like in 2020?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: What will David Ross' impact on the Cubs be like in 2020?

As new manager David Ross takes over for Joe Maddon, he intends to tweak the culture of the Cubs and set his own mark on the team. Jeff Nelson is joined by Outside the Ivy and Bleacher Nation's Michael Cerami to discuss what kind of impact David Ross will have on the 2020 Cubs, what should be expected from the pitching staff and bullpen, and the uncertainty of who plays in the outfield.

(1:36) - What does Ross' impact look like?

(8:28) - Concerns with the pitching staff

(16:00) - Will Craig Kimbrel be better this year?

(20:00) - Will Kris Bryant have enough rope to get used to leading off?

(25:05) - Who do you trust to play the outfield every day?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote puts his sweet swing to use, assists two Cubs fans in gender reveal

David Bote put his sweet, sweet swing to special use on Tuesday.

Prior to the Cubs’ Cactus League game vs. the Rockies, a couple of Cubs fans asked Bote to partake in their gender reveal. The duo brought a powder-infused baseball, asking Bote to take a hack to reveal whether they’re having a boy or girl.

The father-to-be tossed the ball to Bote, who smashed it open to unleash a pink cloud of powder — signifying the couple will have a girl. The 26-year-old infielder — who has two daughters himself — threw his arms in the air to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about gender reveals, you’ve gotta love the uniqueness of this one and Bote partaking in the special moment. Here’s to a healthy life for the baby! 

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