Soriano will most likely test the free agent waters

Can I admit something? I love Rafael Soriano. I just can’t help myself. There’s something about him that I just really dig.

Maybe it’s the look he has on the mound. You know, the look of a man who wants to beat his opponents senseless. Or maybe it’s the way he untucked his jersey after every save. Or better yet, the way he’d leave the clubhouse without speaking to reporters when he had a bad night. Okay, so that’s not a great trait to have necessarily but the aftermath of his actions coupled with the overreaction of the writers was always pretty hilarious.

Even in 2011 when he was primarily Mariano Rivera’s set up man and had a relatively disappointing season – 2-3 record with a 4.12 ERA and am inflamed elbow – I still had a soft spot for Soriano. I felt like people were piling on him because of his contract and that they were being unfairly critical of him. Hmm, that sounds familiar? Doesn’t it Yankee fans? But I digress.

I was so happy that Soriano made the most of the chance he got to step in during Rivera’s absence this season and that he helped guide the Yankees to 95 regular season wins. With all that said, I am disappointed that Soriano wants to test the free agent market but also understand why he would.

He’s still relatively young (he turns 33 in December), he’s coming off a 40 save season in which he had a 2.26 ERA with an ERA+ 185 and there are a few teams who could use a closer – the Boston Red Sox come to mind.

According to a report this morning by Joel Sherman, Soriano’s agent Scott Boras said his client would opt out of his contract with the Yankees.

Soriano signed a three-year contract through 2013 in which he controlled options for the final two seasons. He has until three days after the World Series to either accept or reject his option. If he rejects, he contractually receives a $1.5 million buyout. The Yankees would then have until five days after the World Series to make a qualifying offer.

If Soriano does opt out, I also see things from the Yankees’s side of things, if they decide to not make an offer.

With Rivera coming back next season and with guys like David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, it would be a tad ludicrous to spend over $15 million for a set up man. Not like that has ever stopped Yankees President Randy Levine who was the one who went after and signed Soriano in the first place.

But the Yankees are looking lower payroll by 2014 and with Soriano off the books, it will be easier for them to do that.

So if we’ve seen the last of Rafael Soriano in Pinstripes, I’d like to thank him for the job he did, for his quirky behavior and most of all for the #untuck hashtag many of us used on Twitter. It made Yankee victories that much sweeter.

11 thoughts on “Soriano will most likely test the free agent waters

  1. williamjtasker

    Agree completely. The man got piled on in 2011 and came back and was terrific in 2012. He was money. And I liked his shtick too. Not a clown. Just a quiet, "I got this" untuck.

  2. John

    He also did fantastic in the Playoffs. Even though he didn't get any save opportunities he always shut down the opposing offense and kept the Yankees in the game. If this was his last year as a Yankee, I for one will miss having him around. Good luck Sori!

  3. ScotT

    I really liked Soriano, especially this year when he was terrific. That said, taking the $15 m off the books helps a lot moving forward. That money can be allocated to finding a bat for the outfield (one year deal?).

  4. chad

    Kudos to him for having a great year. However, by far the greatest positive of Mo's injury was giving Soriano the chance to boost his market value so he would opt out, and the Yankees could get rid of his absurd salary.

    • srosegots

      Yep it was absurd but that's Randy Levine for you. He's a menace ;)

  5. Bill

    If he decides to leave, best of luck to him and thanks for the help. He did a fine job subsituting for a legend. Not many guys could have handled it as well. Hope he gets what he wants. Outward appearances to the contrary, he's a good man.

  6. Norm

    I have to wonder about Scott Boras sometimes. I know having his clients opt out is ingrained in his DNA, but does he really think Soriano is going to command more on the free agent market than what he'd earn with the Yankees next year on his current contract? Somehow I doubt it.

    • It would be pretty shocking if Soriano couldn’t get more than $12.5 million on the free agent market.

      • hconnor2001

        I know he had a super year – for which thanks very much and good luck. But it wouldn't be a total shock if he wasn't offered as much as the Yanks have promised him by anyone else next – there weren't a lot of overpays for closers last year. I'm trying to remember the guy who got nothing like what he was hoping for – was it Madsen? Even if he does get more, is it likely to be significantly more than $12.5m?

        Maybe he wants the chance to think about who he'd like to play for next, which is cool, I guess.

        • hconnor2001

          Oh, and I agree that we can probably replace his place in the bullpen for much less money, so not a total disaster if he does go and fine if he stays another year.

          From my inbred anti-Boras point of view, and without prejudice to my gratitude to Soriano, I'd be delighted if he opted out and then got much less on his next contract.

          Last one: if I understand this correctly, to get a compensation draft pick, the qualifying offer the Yanks make would have to be c. $13mill.. If that's right, they might not want to make that offer or else risk him accepting and end up paying him even more than they already agreed on the stupid contract in the first place? Did I get that right?

  7. Edmund_Dantes

    Mr.Soriano,best of luck in your future endeavors. We're going to see what Aardsma has left.

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