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Nationals sign Rafael Soriano to two-year, $28 million deal

Jan 15, 2013, 2:27 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees Getty Images

Well, this certainly came out of nowhere.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that free agent reliever Rafael Soriano has agreed to a two-year, $28 million contract with the Nationals, who lose their first-round draft pick in order to sign him.

Soriano was one of three remaining free agents with draft pick compensation attached. All three of them (Soriano, Kyle Lohse, Michael Bourn) are represented by agent Scott Boras and there’s been all sorts of speculation that they’d struggle to secure multi-year deals, but Soriano at least has found a nice landing spot with a Nationals team that is flush with high-profile Boras clients.

Washington’s bullpen wasn’t exactly hurting, so it’ll be interesting to see how Soriano fits in with a group that already included Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard as the late-inning duo. According to Passan the two-year, $28 million deal also includes a $14 million option for 2015 that vests if Soriano has 120 games finished in 2013-2014, which would essentially require his being the Nationals’ full-time closer.

Soriano stepped in as the Yankees’ closer when Mariano Rivera injured his knee last season and saved 42 games with a 2.26 ERA. He’s battled injuries over the years, but when healthy Soriano has consistently been one of the best relievers in baseball with a 2.78 career ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s posted an ERA of 3.00 or lower in six of the past seven seasons, but $14 million per year and a draft pick is an awfully big price tag for a reliever.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Interesting contract. Here are the specifics according to MLBTR:

    The Nationals agreed to sign free agent closer Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28MM contract, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter links). Soriano will receive $7MM in 2013, $7MM in 2014 and the remaining $14MM in deferred payments starting in 2018, reports Jim Bowden of (via Twitter). The deal includes a 2015 option valued at $14MM that will vest if Soriano finishes 120 games over the course of the next two seasons. Agent Scott Boras represents Soriano.

    In order for the 3rd year option to vest Soriano has to FINISH 120 games over the course of the 2013 and 2014. Soriano has NEVER finished 60 games a season over 2 consecutive seasons. The closest he’s come is: 56 in 2010, 8 in 2011 and 54 in 2012. I suppose it’s doable but the odds seem to be against him. I also like the yearly pay and the deferred payments for the 2 guaranteed years. Looks to me like Boras realized his options for Soriano were really limited.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Makes a lot more sense now. For a second there, i thought he was making $14 Million a year. That would have made him the highest paid Nat in annual salary, for a reliever. Under these details i feel this is a far better signing situation.

  2. showtimefolks007 - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    so we get the 1st round pick from nats?

  3. natslady - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Best Tweet on the subject:

    Ian Desmond ‏@IanDesmond20
    I guess the @Nationals are eating steak tonight.

  4. humanexcrement - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    For those who don’t think change is the only constant, how’s this: The Yankees are getting a compensatory draft pick from the Washington Nationals. No matter how many times I read that sentence, I still can’t believe it.

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