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Reports: Rays pick up Soriano to take over closer's role

Dec 10, 2009, 2:11 AM EDT

Sources told SI.com’s Jon Heyman that the deal sending Rafael Soriano to the Rays is done, pending a physical.
In return, the Braves are set to receive Jesse Chavez, the right-handed reliever the Rays previously picked up from the Pirates for Akinori Iwamura this winter.
The deal nets the Rays a closer without forcing them to forfeit their first-round pick or a property nearly as valuable as said pick. Chavez, 25, had a 4.01 ERA and a 47/22 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. Braves fans will likely have a hard time distinguishing him from Manny Acosta.
Soriano joins a pen that’s also set to include J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier and Randy Choate. He can’t necessarily be counted on to throw 70 innings again, but he’s a dominant reliever when healthy and there’s a definite chance that he’ll become the first Ray to save 30 games since Danys Baez in 2005.
At approximately $8 million for 2010, Soriano doesn’t come cheap. The Rays, though, viewed landing a closer as a top priority and don’t have any other glaring needs that will require a big investment. Since they didn’t have to commit to him for multiple years, it was a deal worth doing.

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