January 8, 2013
Tuesday, January 8
Yesterday’s Roundup included a segment on a compensated free agent, Michael Bourn, who may yet rejoin his former team, months after he rejected the Braves’ qualifying offer. Today’s kicks off with a look at one of Bourn’s fellow, beleaguered job-seekers…
Rafael Soriano won’t return to the Bronx
The 33-year-old Soriano did a fine job filling in for the injured Mariano Rivera in 2012, converting 42 of 46 save opportunities and posting a 3.27 FIP along the way. After taking home $10 million in 2011 and $11 million in 2012, Soriano opted out of a $14 million paycheck for 2013, and then (predictably) turned down the Yankees’ $13.3 million overture. With the free-agent market deep in relievers but low on proven closers with a clean bill of health, Boras likely expected a contender in need of a bullpen upgrade to come calling with a multi-year proposal. And that might have happened, if the price tag did not also involve surrendering its first-round pick.
Since then, most of Soriano’s potential suitors have found other plugs for their late-inning holes. The Angels signed Ryan Madson. The Reds kept Jonathan Broxton. The Dodgers retained Brandon League. The Red Sox inked Koji Uehara, and then acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates. And the Tigers, perhaps Soriano’s best hope for a long-term hitch, appear content to turn over their closer role to rookie flamethrower Bruce Rondon. The good news is that, save for Brian Wilson, Soriano now has virtually no competition; the bad news is that, as has been the case for most of the offseason, there is also scant demand for his services.
ESPN’s Buster Olney followed up on Klapisch’s report by noting that the Yankees prefer the sandwich-round pick that they would receive when Soriano signs elsewhere to any deal with the right-hander, no matter how inexpensive it might be. If that’s the case, then he should not expect any calls from general manager Brian Cashman until after the first day of the amateur draft, when the draft-pick compensation requirement would be waived. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors tweeted back on Dec. 26 that a sign-and-trade scenario, even if the Yankees acquiesced to it, would be viewed as collusion by the league.
Boras has a track record of wriggling out of seemingly ominous situations with free agents, most notably the nine-year, $214 million pact he secured for Prince Fielder last Jan. 25. Finding a new home for Soriano might be his stiffest challenge yet.