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Rafael Soriano may accept aribitration

Dec 5, 2009, 6:43 PM EDT

Braves fan glass half-empty response: “D’oh! That’s less money available to go and get a bat!”

Braves fan glass half-full response: “Man, our bullpen is gonna be epic!

It’s been widely speculated that right-hander Rafael Soriano who was offered salary arbitration by the Braves this week, will
decline the offer and hit the open market as a free agent. But
Soriano’s agent said Saturday that the pitcher is giving serious
consideration to accepting arbitration and returning to Atlanta for a
one-year deal.

“It’s going to go down to the wire,” said agent Peter Greenberg. “It’s definitely going to be a last-minute decision for us.”

The last time the Braves offered arbitration to a guy they were certain was going to leave was Greg Maddux before the 2003 season.  It cost them $14.75 million and turned the team off of the arbitration game for a long time, arguably costing them some draft picks along the way. Still, the 2003 Braves won 101 games, in part because Greg Maddux was there to bolster the pitching staff.

So basically, I’m not going to cry about it if Soriano accepts arbitration, even if Frank Wren does.

  1. Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    Frank Wren shouldn’t cry because he gets Soriano on a one-year, $8 million deal. He should cry because he rushed to commit $10 million and the twentieth pick to two guys who are a combined 78 years old with recent injury histories before knowing what his superior options would do.

  2. Peter - Dec 5, 2009 at 6:59 PM

    Soriano’s trade-able if he accepts arb.
    Re: Kevin S.
    What superior options were available? How would you have done it?

  3. Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Like I said, I wouldn’t have committed to him until I knew what my two guys were doing. $7 million and a pick for a 38 y.o. fourteen innings removed from the zipper isn’t a smart move from where I’m sitting. Sure, guys like Rodney, Lyon, Beimel, Mahay don’t have the ceiling Wagner does, but he’s high-risk, even by reliever standards. Besides, finding guys who can pitch out of the pen is probably the best use of the Rule 5 draft. I just wouldn’t have committed significant resources to him, given both the inherent volatility of the position and his own recent history.

  4. Grant - Dec 5, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    His superior options are the two guys he offered arbitration to.

  5. Peter - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    Well, the Braves don’t seem to believe Wagner is any more of an injury risk than any typical late-innings power reliever. Considering Wagner pitched exceptionally well both immediately before and immediately after his surgery, and considering the Braves are infinitely more qualified to assess the injury risk of a reliever than a typical fan (such as I) is, I trust that he’s probably healthy enough to put to rest the injury concerns.
    Therefore, I don’t really think he’s as risky as you’re portraying.
    Besides, finding guys who can pitch out of the pen is probably the best use of the Rule 5 draft.
    You may find a serviceable guy in the Rule 5 draft, but usually, you eventually find out why they were available in the Rule 5 draft.
    I just wouldn’t have committed significant resources to him, given both the inherent volatility of the position and his own recent history.
    Depends on your definition of “significant”. I mean, yeah, he’s not cheap, but I don’t think you can get a better arm for $7 million. Teams spend a lot more on a lot worse all the time.
    It ain’t the next (insert free agent who signed for very cheap and ended up being a great deal more valuable than he was paid to be), but it’s not a hail mary or a misguided move. It was a thoroughly calculated, fair deal. When it’s all said and done, given all options, I probably do it the same.

  6. Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:20 PM

    but I don’t think you can get a better arm for $7 million
    Actually, this entire post is centered around the fact that they *are* possibly getting a better arm for $8 million, without the cost of the draft pick. I don’t see what harm there was in waiting a week.

  7. Carlo S. - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    He won’t accept. He wants (and deserves) to be the closer somewhere else. I don’t know if he’ll be the closer in ATL.

  8. frug - Dec 6, 2009 at 3:28 AM

    It cost them $14.75 million…
    It also cost them Kevin Millwood. (Though they did get a one good year out of Johnny Estrada).
    It is also worth noting that while younger than Wagner and Saito, Soriano and Gonzalez are every bit the injury risk that the old men are.

  9. Kevin S. - Dec 6, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    It is also worth noting that while younger than Wagner and Saito, Soriano and Gonzalez are every bit the injury risk that the old men are.
    .
    False. They are injury risks, to be sure – every relief pitcher is. If nothing else, though, age makes Wagner and Saito greater injury risks. There are degrees here.

  10. frug - Dec 6, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    If nothing else, though, age makes Wagner and Saito greater injury risks.
    Yes, but Wagner and Saito are not both coming off by far the largest workloads of their career. Combined with that with the facts that both Gonzalez and especially Soriano have had problem with injuries in the past and both broke down a bit down the stretch I find it difficult to believe that either pair of relievers can claim a significant edge when it comes to their likelihood to remain healthy next season.

  11. Emerson Wings - Feb 13, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    I saw this really great post today, found it on yahoo. i think i may return soon.

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