Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Day I've Been Waiting For: Soriano Opts Out
It was reported yesterday that Rafael Soriano opted out of his $14 million contract, to pursue a new contract as a free agent. After the Yankees pay his $1.5 million opt out fee, they will officially be out of the second worst contract in Yankee history, the first of course being A-Rod's. Some will argue that Soriano's performance last year merits the contract he got, but they would be wrong. He missed most of 2011 due to injury and although he filled the closer role when Mariano stepped out, he was never worth the contract he was given. Now that the Yankees have freed up $12.5 million from next years budget (That's $14 million minus the $1.5 million opt out fee), perhaps they have just enough to start working out Pettitte and Kuroda's raises. The true mystery revolves around Mariano, who is still not sure whether he wants to return, and if he does, how much of a contract he will command. How much do you give a closer who spent almost an entire year on the DL and ate $15 million worth of payroll in the process, and, by the way, happens to be the greatest closer of all time? I suppose this year we will find out.
Posted by Fernando Alejandro at 7:21 AM
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Short of ARod, Soriano must have the strangest contract history in modern baseball.
After the 2009 season, the Braves signed him to a $7.25 million arbitration contract and dealt him to the Rays four days later. He made nearly a third of the Rays' 2010 payroll! How did that happen?
Of course Soriano had a very good year with the Rays and led the league in saves. But it was obviously his breakout season as he had never done anything comparable before. Cashman publicly announced that the Yankees would not give up a draft pick to sign Soriano as a FA. Yet Levine kicked his GM to the curb and gave Soriano a $35 million deal with annual opt outs. Right after Rivera reeled off a 1.80 ERA season. How did that happen?
Soriano was mediocre and hurt in 2011 as you wrote. I can't forget that when Rivera got hurt in 2012, the closer role went to Robertson. If Robertson had stayed healthy, Soriano might never have saved a game in 2012. And then he would not have opted out. But Robertson got hurt, Soriano took over, pitched well, and is now getting paid $1.5 million to opt out and seek a four year deal.
How did that happen?
He really lucked out.
Apart of it is luck, another part of it is having Scott Boras negotiating for you. He has a way of soothsaying his way into the Yankees minds. Jedi mind trick abounding.
Scot Boras is NOT a Jedi.
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