Cubs

Cubs looking at Rafael Soriano as possible bullpen upgrade

rafael-soriano-0521.png

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.

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

hendricks-schwein-1018.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...