The Tampa Bay Rays completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Friday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano and agreeing to a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the reliever.
The deal sent right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Braves, who weren’t willing to give Soriano a long-term contract and recently signed free agent relievers Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito.
The Rays were searching for bullpen help after the lack of a proven closer contributed to the 2008 American League champions failing to reach the playoffs. With several pitchers sharing the role, Tampa Bay wound up with 22 blown saves - eighth most in the major leagues.
Soriano had a career-best 27 saves in 31 opportunities for the Braves. In 75 2/3 innings, he struck out 102 while walking 27.
WHITE SOX: Reliever J.J. Putz agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with Chicago and will fill a setup role in the bullpen.
Putz is 23-19 with a 3.24 ERA and 103 saves in 337 relief appearances over seven major league seasons with Seattle and the Mets.
He was 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA with the Mets last season in 29 appearances before undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow June 9, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
ROYALS: Jason Kendall signed a two-year contract with Kansas City, where he is expected to become the everyday catcher.
Kendall is a .290 hitter over his 14-year career.
DIAMONDBACKS: Right-hander Blaine Boyer signed a one-year, $750,000 contract to remain with Arizona.
Boyer, who was arbitration eligible, pitched for three teams last season, going 0-2 with a 4.12 ERA in 48 relief appearances with Atlanta, St. Louis and Arizona. He pitched in 20 games for the Diamondbacks, with an 0-2 record and 2.68 ERA.