Cubs sign free-agent reliever Rafael Soriano

SHARE Cubs sign free-agent reliever Rafael Soriano

The Cubs signed free-agent closer Rafael Soriano to a minor-league contract on Tuesday.

The deal offers a pro-rated major-league salary that would pay him roughly $2 million if he pitches half the season with an additional $4 million in performance incentives.

Soriano, who had an All-Star season for Cubs manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay in 2010, recently switched agents to Chicago-based Alan Nero — who also represents Maddon.

Entering the day Tuesday, the Cubs were one of two teams — along with Seattle — still in the mix for Soriano, who has been working out in the Dominican Republic.

Because Soriano hasn’t pitched since last year he’s not expected to be ready to join the Cubs beleaguered bullpen until around July 1.

Soriano, 35, is a 13-year relief pitching veteran who has spent time with five different teams. He amassed 117 saves in the last three seasons for the Yankee and Nationals.

“Me and Raffy have a really good relationship,” Maddon said last week. “I haven’t spoken to him. But I like the guy. He knows how to pitch.

“The thing I always talked about with him as a closer was he was a guy that didn’t’ just throw the ball 100 mph. He and I used to have a lot of conversations about how we attack certain hitters in a game, because he really sees things. He’d be in the bullpen, and he watches really well, and he’s got definite ideas on how to get out hitters. I’ve always appreciated his pitch-ability.”

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