Tag: Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation on Free-Agent Pitcher

Veteran relief pitcher Rafael Soriano has been sitting on the sideline so far in 2015, waiting to find the right team and opportunity before he pitches in the big leagues. The 35-year-old appears to be narrowing his choices down.   

Continue for updates. 

Three Teams Aggressively After Soriano

Friday, June 5

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, there are three teams aggressively after Soriano, with a possible deal coming before his workout June 11, per his agent, Alan Nero:

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs are always in competition with each other, and it’s warranted this time. Both teams are over .500—the Cardinals own the best record in baseball—and they have playoff aspirations. The Toronto Blue Jays have a payroll over $125 million, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, but are desperate to find a life preserver with a 25-30 record. 

The Cubs and the Blue Jays would have more incentive to sign Soriano, as they rank in the bottom 11 in bullpen ERA. The Cardinals could be seeking depth since their relievers rank second in all of baseball with a 2.11 ERA. 

Soriano spent the previous two seasons pitching with the Washington Nationals. He had a 3.15 ERA and 75 saves in 132 games. His past experience in high-leverage situations and as a closer makes him a valuable asset as teams seek to upgrade their bullpen. 

The Cardinals would present Soriano with the best chance to win a title this year, while the Cubs and the Blue Jays could tempt him with the allure of pitching in the closer’s role that he won’t get in St. Louis because of Trevor Rosenthal’s presence. 


Stats via ESPN.com.

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Washington Nationals Sign Closer Rafael Soriano to a 2-Year Deal

In October of 2012, the Washington Nationals melted down in the Division Series, blowing a ninth inning lead in the fifth game. Drew Storen pitched in four of the five games and could not hold onto the 7-5 Game 5 lead and the Nationals lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7.

If the Nationals find themselves in a similar situation in October of 2013, they will be handing the ball to former New York Yankees closer Rafael Soriano. The Nationals signed the Scott Boras client to a relatively low risk two year, $28 million contract, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter.)

The deal has an option for a third season if Soriano finishes 120 games over the 2013 and 2014 season. 

Soriano had little interest in the open market this offseason. According to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times, Boras tried to get the Detroit Tigers to bring him aboard and in theory he seemed like a natural fit for the defending American League Champions.

Soriano opted out of a $14 million agreement with the New York Yankees for a chance to close games, something he probably would do with the return of Mariano Rivera. After Jose Valverde’s postseason meltdown, the Tigers had a spot for him in the rotation. But perhaps the cost of a draft pick soured his chances to come to the Motor City.

Now he will land in Washington and pitch alongside Storen, Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen and Ryan Mattheus.

Relievers can be hard to predict and Soriano is no exception.

He was very effective in 2009 with the Atlanta Braves and an All Star and Cy Young contender in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays. But in 2011, his first year with the New York Yankees, he was riddled with injuries and inconsistencies, before bouncing back for a terrific year while replacing the injured Rivera in the Bronx.

The Nationals are banking on 2009, 2010 and 2012 Soriano and not the 2011 model.

If they do, the city of Washington may actually see a postseason series victory for the first time since 1924.

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Is Rafael Soriano the Nationals Final Piece to a 2013 World Series Title?

The Washington Nationals made news today having signed the best free agent pitcher on the market: Rafael Soriano.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was the first to report (via Twitter) that the Nationals had reached an agreement with Soriano for two years and $28 million.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports Soriano is now the highest paid relief pitcher in all of baseball. His $14 million average annual salary is second only to Mariano Rivera’s $15 million per season from 2010 through 2012.

Now with Soriano in the fold the Nationals have arguably the deepest bullpen in all of baseball. The team already had Tyler Clippard (37 saves in 2012) and Drew Storen in line to close out games in 2013.

The addition of Soriano gives Washington a man whom had 42 saves last season for the New York Yankees and in his last full season as a closer in 2012, 45 saves with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The obvious question, therefore, is: is Rafael Soriano the Nationals final piece to win a World Series in 2013?

The immediate answer is simply this: it can’t hurt their chances.

Soriano has proven himself to be a top-tier closer and will convert most of his save opportunities. He only blew four saves with the Yankees in 2012 and three with the Rays in 2010.

As a setup man he provided 23 holds for the Yankees in 2011.

That type of efficiency is extremely valuable to any team and now the Nats have an embarrassment of riches in the pitching department.

Clearly paying that much money automatically makes Soriano the closer and moves Storen and Clippard down in the depth chart.

Storen, historically has a markedly better ERA when pitching in the seventh inning than the eighth, as he owns a 0.56 ERA in his 22 career games pitching in the seventh inning versus 48 career games pitching in the eighth inning where he owns a 4.04 ERA.

Clippard on the other hand has fairly similiar statistics when pitching in the seventh and eight innings. Lifetime he owns a 2.43 ERA in 92 games pitching in the seventh while owning a 2.94 ERA in 140 games pitching in the eighth.

Logically, the order of the bullpen should be Storen, Clippard and Soriano. 

Storen had 10 holds and one blown save in 2012 while Clippard had 13 holds and five blown saves.

According to Bill James’s projections on FanGrapshs website, Storen was projected to have 33 saves next season while Clippard would add 14.

Interestingly enough, James only projected Soriano to have two saves, likely acting more as a setup man than a closer.

Clearly that has all changed now.

The Nationals had the most wins in all of baseball last season with 98 and had the second best team ERA with a 3.33, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays.

While there is little that a team can do to truly improve upon a 98 win season, the Nationals may have just done that.

Consider this, when the Nats lost their National League Division Series to the St. Louis Cardinals the team gave up 13 runs through five games in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings combined. 

While they were outscored 32-16 in the series, imagine if the bottom third of each game could have been reeled in with a stronger bullpen?

It is obvious that the front office viewed this as a priority and acted upon it as such.


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Washington Nationals Sign RP Rafael Soriano

The Washington Nationals have bolstered their bullpen by signing former all-star relief pitcher Rafael Soriano, 33, to a two-year, $28 million contract that includes a vesting option for a third season.

By signing Soriano, the Nationals lose their first-round pick in the forthcoming first-year player draft.

Soriano pitched in the closer role for the New York Yankees in the 2012 season, taking over the position after Mariano Rivera, the career leader in saves, suffered a torn ACL. He recorded 42 saves (third in the American League) and posted a 2.26 ERA.

For his career, the 6’1”, 230-pound right-handed pitcher has recorded 132 saves with a 2.78 ERA.

Soriano will provide the Nationals with another option for closing out games and help to replenish a bullpen that lost key contributors Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Mike Gonzalez in free agency.

Last season the Nationals used a combination of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard in the closer role. Storen, 25, missed a significant portion of the 2012 season and made only four saves after recording 43 in 2011. Clippard made 32 saves, but struggled to close out games late in the season.

The Nationals posted an MLB best record of 98-64 in 2012, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in the divisional round. By signing Soriano to a $14 million per year contract—the highest for a closer in baseball—and losing a first round draft pick, GM Mike Rizzo has shown that the Nationals—after posting their first winning season since moving to D.C.—are no longer focused on the future, but rather are aiming to win in the present.

In addition to getting Soriano, the Nationals signed starting pitcher Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 Million contract and resigned first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $24 million deal earlier in the offseason.

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Biggest Winners and Losers of Rafael Soriano to the Washington Nationals

Rafael Soriano‘s long ordeal on the free-agent market has come to an end.

As reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the veteran closer is signing with the Washington Nationals:

Passan also noted that Soriano’s option for the 2015 season will vest if he finishes 120 games in 2013 and 2014.

Score another one for the mystery team. The Nationals didn’t stand out as a target for a big-money closer when the offseason began, but GM Mike Rizzo is clearly sparing no expense to build on what his team established in 2012.

As with any deal in baseball, there are winners and losers of Soriano’s contract with the Nationals. Let’s take a gander.

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Salary and contract information courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts

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MLB Free Agency 2013: Rafael Soriano, Nationals Agree to 2-Year, $28M Deal

The market for Rafael Soriano was a very slow one this winter.

After opting out of his contract to become a free agent again, teams weren’t jumping at the chance to lock up the closer, despite a strong 2012 campaign.

On Tuesday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. the Washington Nationals have signed the former Yankees closer to a two-year deal.




The deal has a vesting option for 2015 worth $14 million, so the deal could be as much as $42 million over three years.

Soriano took over for Mariano Rivera in May and was excellent in his role, posting a 2.26 ERA with 42 saves.

When Soriano originally signed his three-year, $35 million deal with the Yankees back in January of 2010, his deal included two opt-out clauses after the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Some felt the market for Soriano would be a stronger one, however, teams didn’t want to surrender a draft pick in order to get Soriano, which is now what the Yankees will receive as compensation for his departure.

The Yankees made a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to Soriano, which was immediately rejected because he felt he could get a multi-year deal in free agency.

The Nationals used former Yankee prospect Tyler Clippard as their closer in 2012, as he converted 32 saves for Washington.

Davey Johnson could either move Clippard to the setup role, or Nationals GM Mike Rizzo could look to trade Clippard or former closer Drew Storen for prospects.

It’s a solid move for the National League East Champions, who have now added an established closer 

As for the Yankees, losing Soriano isn’t as tough of a blow because David Robertson is still the setup man, a role in which he has performed well in.

Also, if former Mariners closer David Aardsma pitches to the level he once was at before injuries, then Soriano’s presence in the bullpen won’t be missed.

The Yankees might have lost a quality arm in the bullpen, but saving $14 million on what would have gone to Soriano was a smart move for the team, especially if Aardsma and Robertson perform up to expectations.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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Grading the Rafael Soriano Contract for the Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals and free-agent closer Rafael Soriano have agreed to a two-year, $28 million contract with a vesting option for a third year. The option vests if Soriano finishes at least 120 games over the first two seasons.

Jeff Passan had it first:



The Nationals bullpen seemed to be set prior to the move—aside from lacking a left-handed specialist—with Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen both capable closers.

Owner Ted Lerner, however, felt otherwise. He was very much involved in luring Soriano to Washington and was willing to offer the money agent Scott Boras wanted.

While it seems to be overkill at first glance, this move is an absolutely stellar one for the Nationals.

For starters, they have just acquired an All-Star-level closer who can bring them one step closer to success in the postseason. It’s doubtful that this move was inspired by Storen‘s downfall in last season’s NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, but the signing shores up any qualms about that role moving forward.

With Soriano in the fold, general manager Mike Rizzo can get creative with the rest of the team.

He can choose to leave Clippard, Storen and Soriano (ClipStoSo?) together at the back end of the bullpen, forming one of the most formidable trios in the league. Teams would then have to beat guys like Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann over six innings—something that shouldn’t be too easy to accomplish.

Or, Rizzo can package either Clippard or Storen with outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse to stock up an already deep farm system. Morse is without a starting spot given the re-signing of Adam LaRoche and the acquisition of center fielder Denard Span.

There’s also one other option, and one that’s purely speculation on my part. If Rizzo really wanted to get creative, he could package Morse, Clippard/Storen, top prospect Anthony Rendon and another minor league arm to acquire yet another front-line starter.

The Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to have interest in Morse, so maybe a deal for left-hander David Price could be agreed upon.

Again, that’s purely speculation.

Regardless of what Rizzo chooses to do, the signing of Soriano was a fantastic move by the upper-management of the Nationals.

He provides the team with a stable presence in the ninth inning, as well as several options for Rizzo to consider in order to improve his team even further.

Lerner deserves a ton of credit for essentially orchestrating this deal.

Grade: A 

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Rafael Soriano and Nationals Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Deal

Proving that they are willing to do anything it takes to win a championship, the Washington Nationals have signed free-agent relief pitcher Rafael Soriano, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports

UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6:12 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

ESPN’s Jim Bowden has come through with more details on Soriano’s deal. Though he’ll be paid $28 million by the Nationals, just half of that will come in 2013 and 2014, with the rest being deferred:

For those National fans who worried about Soriano’s hefty price, at least this will assuage those concerns some.

—End of Update—

The increased price for relief pitchers continues to be a source of bewilderment. Soriano’s average of $14 million per season is slightly lower than what outfielder B.J. Upton got from the Atlanta Braves. 

If Soriano can stay healthy, he will at least almost assuredly give the Nationals good production. But the staying healthy part has been a problem, as he has had issues with durability throughout his career. 

In 2011 with the New York Yankees, Soriano pitched just 39.1 innings with a 4.12 ERA due to an elbow injury that kept him out for more than two months. 

Dating back to his time in Seattle, Soriano pitched just 10.2 innings between 2004 and 2005 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In 2008 with Atlanta, he threw just 14 innings. 

As is the case with any relief pitcher, a significant financial investment like the one the Nationals are giving Soriano comes with a good deal of risk. 

But when Soriano is healthy, he has proven to be one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. He had 45 saves, a 1.73 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 62.1 innings with Tampa Bay in 2010. In his last season with the Yankees, he posted a 2.26 ERA and 42 saves in place of an injured Mariano Rivera. 


The Nationals did not rest on their laurels this offseason after winning 98 games last season. They added Denard Span to fill their center field and leadoff void in a trade with Minnesota 

Last season, the Nationals finished with the seventh-best bullpen ERA in baseball at 3.23. They also threw the seventh-most innings in baseball with 515.1, though that number should go down in 2013 with Stephen Strasburg not likely to have an innings cap this season. 


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Kansas City Royals Should Pursue Reliever Rafael Soriano

The Kansas City Royals have made an unexpected commitment to win in 2013. And if they want to follow through on that commitment, they should take advantage of a weak market for reliever Rafael Soriano.

Earlier this month, as reported in many sites including NBCSports.com, the Royals sent Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, Wil Myers, packing to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. There were other players involved, but the main pieces of the deal showed that Kansas City was not interested in waiting for more prospects. They needed major league pitching.

The Royals were heavily criticized for the trade, including by Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, who described the deal as a “misguided gamble.”

But there is no use in utilizing a strategy like this in a half-hearted manner. The Royals have already sacrificed Myers. They have added Shields and Davis to the rotation, re-signed Jeremy Guthrie and taken a chance that Ervin Santana will rebound.

They should also make a move for Rafael Soriano, who is finding the offseason market to be less than fruitful.

Soriano pitched beautifully for the Yankees in the absence of legendary Mariano Rivera. But the Yankees are certain that 43-year-old Rivera will regain his old form and are letting him walk.

As R. J. White wrote for CBSSports.com, the Detroit Tigers, the most logical landing spot for Soriano, have not shown interest nor will surrender a first round pick.

Most other clubs seem to be looking to fill closer needs internally or by trades, as the Boston Red Sox are doing by dealing for the Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan according to ESPN.

So adding Soriano to their bullpen might not be the massive financial commitment for the Royals as, for example, Jonathan Papelbon’s four year deal was for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Perhaps a two year deal for Soriano will be acceptable. He could be an anchor for a bullpen that already includes talented arms like Tim Collins, Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and newly acquired veterans George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler.

The Royals could have one of the top bullpens in baseball to go along with their improved rotation.

Granted, it would cost them a draft pick. But as they showed with Wil Myers, General Manager Dayton Moore is willing to sacrifice some of the future for some winning in the present.

If this is their path, the Royals need to follow it wholeheartedly.

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2013 MLB Free Agents: Elite Stars Still Left on Market

Many of MLB‘s top 2013 free agents have made some surprising moves in the last week, but there still are a few great players left on the major league market.

The list is shrinking at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace, and these players are sure to find homes soon.

Michael Bourn is at the top of the list, with rumors coming from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the Dodgers might even consider getting rid of Andre Ethier for the speedy center fielder.

Bourn is coming off of his second All-Star season and his most productive since he entered the league. Last year, the journeyman hit nine home runs and 57 RBI, but was a productive defender and aggressive on base.

It would be a surprising move, but at this point any place Bourn lands would be shocking, considering deals with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals went sour after they looked elsewhere.

Nick Swisher is still available and was also mentioned in the report about the Dodgers shopping Ethier.

However, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that talks between Swisher and L.A. haven’t progressed:

The Indians just unloaded right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds in a three-team deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, landing center fielder Drew Stubbs and pitcher Trevor Bauer. Though the trade has potential to pay off for the Indians, they need a power hitter to replace Shin-Soo Choo in right field.

Swisher is coming off a 24-home run, 93-RBI season, hitting .272/.364/.473. Many criticisms of Swisher came in the postseason when he failed to hit his stride with the New York Yankees. But Swisher is productive and a hard worker whose hitting would benefit any clubhouse he joins.

One of Swisher’s fellow Yankees remains a free agent, too, with no reported offers coming in for pitcher Rafael Soriano.

Rumors of the Detroit Tigers’ interests were all but squashed when they re-signed Anibal Sanchez to an $80 million contract, leaving little money for the type of deal required for a closer of Soriano’s caliber.

Though there are questions of Soriano’s durability after his injury in 2011, he has a good track record when he’s healthy. He stands at a career 2.78 ERA with 132 saves, and threw 2.26 with 42 saves last season with the Yankees.

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