According to SI’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have agreed to terms with Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million deal. The deal comes as something of a surprise, since it wasn’t a week ago that Brian Cashman said he would not give up the team’s first round draft pick. They’ve done just that, and have given a relief pitcher $12 million annually.
We’ve talked about Soriano all winter, so there’s nothing much to add to this, at least initially. We’ll be back with a bit more thoughtful reaction later, but for now I’ll say I don’t like it. The draft pick doesn’t bother me as much as the contract. The Yanks get an expensive setup man for two years before he possibly slides into the closer role after Mariano Rivera’s contract expires. Though, as we know, you can never count on Mo to call it quits.
The one thing I will add right now: I dislike this move less if it moves Joba back to the rotation.
Update: Heyman provides further details. Apparently Soriano can opt out after each of the first two years. So maybe he’ll pitch lights out in 2011 and go bye-bye after the season ends.
Update by Mike: Chad Jennings spoke to someone in the organization that said the Yankees have not had any internal discussions regarding moving Joba back to the rotation. Because the best pitchers should pitch the fewest innings, you know.
Oh, and Buster Olney says Soriano did not receive a no-trade clause. It doesn’t matter, the contract itself is a no-trade clause.