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White Sox have some interest in Rafael Soriano

Jan 2, 2011, 8:42 AM EST

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers, Game 4 Getty Images

It’s amazing how quiet the market has been this winter for free agent reliever Rafael Soriano.  He was one of the best bullpen pitchers in all of baseball last year with a 1.73 ERA and 0.80 WHIP across 64 appearances.

His 45 saves in 48 chances led all American League closers and he struck out 57 batters while walking only 14.  And, yet, only a couple of clubs have let it known that they have interest in the right-hander.

Most teams simply want to avoid the lofty price tag.  In a world where Joaquin Benoit can score a three-year, $16.5 million deal, Soriano should be able to command — or at least ask for — a four-year contract worth close to $25 million.

Whatever the case, it seems like the White Sox are at least investigating Soriano as a possible replacement for Bobby Jenks.  SI.com’s Jon Heyman said Saturday that there “seems to be interest” coming from the south side of Chicago, though money may be a real problem.  The White Sox have already handed out a couple of big contracts this offseason and would really have to stretch their budget to get something done.

It may take another week or two for the 31-year-old’s market to fully develop.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 2, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Here are the big problems:

    a) He’s a Boras client.

    b) He’s a Type A free agent.

    Everyone is leery of giving up draft picks for relief help when relievers are always so readily available via other means.

    Toss in the facts that he’s 31, has a spotty injury history and has only been a full-time closer for about a season and a half and it’s enough to keep people at bay.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Not only is he a Type A Free Agent, he is the second rated Type A Free Agent based on the Elias Sports Bureau ratings. He is proof that that the Elias rankings are suspect as he and Werth were in a virtual tie for the highest ranking. His best bet for a decent payday is with a team which would not lose their first round pick if they sign him.

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    If Soriano is still on the market after the next 2 weeks I would not be surprised to see the Yankees make him an offer say $8M per for 3 years. At that point that may will be enough to get it done.

  3. Ick McWang - Jan 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    he made just shy of 8 mil last year, 7.5 i believe he was awarded through arbitration. I would imagine he is looking for 18-20 over 2 years, maybe 23-25 over 3. But as has been pointed out, that type A designation hurts him a bit.

    as a rays fan, i never watched soriano with the braves, but for us he seemed to be in great health. he even pitched in some non-save situations when asked, which not all closers are to quick to do. he has those weird quirks that seem to be necessary to be a closer. He writes something in the dirt every time he goes out there (and won’t disclose what it is, either, other than it is “deeply personal”), keeps written messages in his hat, and really gets pumped up out there. He practically rips his shirt off when he gets a save (he says he immediately rips out/untucks his shirt to signify that the “work is done”)

    i loved the guy. percival in 08 brought some swagger we needed, but Soriano brought the swagger and the heat. wish we could keep him

  4. pisano - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    uyf1950…. I’m praying you’re right on this one. Your post always make a lot of sense and this one sounds real good. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.

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