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Rafael Soriano will be the Nationals’ closer

Jan 18, 2013, 2:50 PM EST

Rafael Soriano Getty Getty Images

General manager Mike Rizzo left no doubt that Rafael Soriano will be the Nationals’ new closer after signing a two-year, $28 million deal, saying: “Suffice it to say, Raffy is here to pitch the ninth inning.”

That means last year’s primary closer, Tyler Clippard, moves back into a setup role after saving 32 games, and Drew Storen remains in a setup role after saving 43 games in 2011.

Storen was used as a closer in Game 5 of the NLDS and blew a two-run lead against the Cardinals, but Rizzo was quickly to say that “by no means the signing of Rafael Soriano was based on one inning and one game at the end of the season.”

Whatever the case a late-inning trio of Soriano, Storen, and Clippard is one of the best in baseball–all with closing experience–and last season combined to throw 171 innings with a 2.89 ERA.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    I’m still shocked at every aspect of this signing. I was surprised he exercised his opt-out with NYY, in that turning down $14 million seemed foolish. Instead he gets 1.5 million for opting out, then gets $28 million for 2 years with a vesting option for another year at $14 million. Somehow Scott Boras and Brian Cashman always seem to win no matter who loses. That must be what it feels like to be the smartest guy at the table.

    As to my other shock, Mike Rizzo has been consistently making good moves and choices for a long time now. This signing is not in keeping with that reputation, to say the least. Given their internal strength at reliever, and also given that they are rumored to be hot on Javy Vazquez, which would presumably move Ross Detwiler to the bullpen, further strengthening what was already a position of strength …. just a real head-scratcher.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      3 years in a row the Nats have tried to be overloaded at pitching, and its worked. They lost 2 relievers this offseason in Burnett and Gonzalez. Now they signed one back. Now they have 3 guys who can close, assuring players like Clippard wont be overworked and less stress on Storen who isnt as durable. And signing Vazquez if they do gives them even more depth. Detwiler can come out of the pen when a pitcher struggles early. This means that literally every pitcher the Nats have at all phases is good to excellent. Makes a lot of sense if you ask me.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        To me that’s $28 million on a guy they didn’t need. Replacing Burnett and Gonzalez shouldn’t cost anywhere near that much. That’s $28 million they could have spent on offense. Or they could have spent $14 million to keep Burnett and Gonzalez for two years and had the leftover money to spend on offense.

        Bad contracts have a way of hurting more and more down the line.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 19, 2013 at 4:41 AM

        They didnt spend $28 million. They spent $7 million per season, deferring the rest until 2018. In 5 years TV contracts, inflation, and other factors will balloon contracts more. Wouldnt surprise me that for a top of the line closer this will show to be a good signing.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        Your argument buggers logic and math. The fact that they deferred the money supports my thesis that it will hurt more down the line. That’s $14 million minimum, if his 3rd year option doesn’t vest. The next richest closer contract? Jonathan Papelbon at 12.5 million a year.

        The more I think on this the more I hate this signing. It’s paying Soriano the most of any closer in baseball for a guy the Yankees couldn’t wait to be rid of. I don’t think anyone is arguing he is the best closer in baseball.

        Look – I get it – you’re a Nats fan – you have a right to be happy. You have the right to want him no matter the cost. Enjoy. Your team is really good, and really young.

  2. El Bravo - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Does anyone else think that Washington is gonna be sicker than sick nasty the next few years? As a Braves fan, I kinda want the simple Phils/Braves rivalry back. I think even the Philly Phaithphul would agree with me on that. The Nasty Nats are nasty indeed.

    • felser - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      I am one of those Philly Phaithphul, and I Phully agree. They aren’t just good, they’re young and good.

      • El Bravo - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        Just how I like ‘em. Oh wait, what are we talking about?

  3. cackalackyank - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    As far as the title of this post goes…ummm DUH

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