Update: Soriano likely to opt-out after the season


October 20th: Scott Boras strongly hinted to Joel Sherman that Soriano will in fact opt-out, though the two sides still have to talk before a final decision is made. Sherman says the Yankees are unlikely to offer an extension but Heyman says they will make him a qualifying offer to ensure they receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Sept. 13th: Via Jon Heyman, there “is a good chance” that Rafael Soriano will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and become a free agent after the season. The Yankees aren’t convinced he’ll walk away from his $14M salary in 2013, however.

Soriano, 32, has been brilliant since taking over for the injured Mariano Rivera, pitching to a 2.15 ERA (2.74 FIP) with a 48/9 K/BB in 46 innings as closer. He’s gone 37-for-40 in save chances as well. Unless Rivera decides to retire or the Yankees decide to scrap the 2014 payroll plan, I can’t imagine they’ll re-sign Soriano to a fat multi-year contract given his history of elbow problems and the fact that Brian Cashman didn’t even want to sign him in the first place.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Ro says:

    I figured this would happen. Not enough quality closers on the market this coming off season. He’ll definitely get another 2-3 deal. Maybe for less total dollars, but he’ll have some years. Also smart because you may get a team that is willing now, but less so going into 14 with payroll restrictions. This is good for the Yanks.

  2. Curtis says:

    So they offer the qualifying offer to Soriano and Swisher. Couldn’t work out any better -> DRAFT PICKS!!

    Also, can someone remind me? It’s just 1 compensation pick in the supplemental draft, right? You don’t get the other team’s pick as well?

  3. Rob says:

    If they offer him a qualifying offer and he leaves do they get a draft pick?

  4. Rich in NJ says:

    Has anyone ever seen Boras and Heyman in the same room together?

  5. Better off Eddard says:

    Wouldn’t be the worst thing if he opted out. That’s way too much to pay for a set up guy which he would be if Mo returns. Robertson and Joba are down there to set up for much cheaper. That money is better spent elsewhere but I’m sure Hal will pocket it as he tightens the strings on the budget.

  6. Mike says:

    From his standpoint I don’t know how he wouldn’t opt out. His value is as high as it’ll get…if he comes back next year he’ll return to a setup role behind Mo and then his value will be down again going into free agency

  7. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Mo thanks you for 2012, Soriano. Say hi to Donnie Baseball when the Dodgers sign you.

  8. Andrew J. says:

    Do you really think we will be better off in 2013 without Soriano in the bullpen? He’s been the most consistent reliever this year and if he has to pitch the 8th inning when Mo comes back, aren’t we better off, $13 million or not. It’s like the argument paying $80,000 is too much to pay for a car, but even if it’s an overpriced BMW, it’s still a BMW and drives like one. We are overpaying for an elite reliever, but let’s keep in mind, we have an elite arm in the bullpen with Soriano there.

  9. Woodrow Sweats says:

    it’s better financially for him to leave, but do the yankees know that mo will be back as good as new? when is a blown knee ever less than a year injury? i guess joba could start as the closer and mo could take over once he’s ready… or just go the rays route and take someone off the scrap heap… let him walk…

  10. Dela G says:

    oh man this is GREAT NEWS. I hope they give him a qualifying offer, too.

    • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho says:

      If he has an option for $14M that he is declining and all teams will make the same qualified offer to all free agents they wish to choose of approximately $13.3M, then you know he will decline the lower offer, as well. Yankees will definitely make that offer and pick up a sandwich pick.

  11. FIPster Doofus says:

    Not happy about this. The bullpen is bad enough as it is. Take Soriano out and it becomes a disaster.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      You’d have an entire offseason to rebuild.

      Hopefully Joba has turned a corner. Then you can hope Montgomery can contribute next year, and if Mo is back you still have DRob, Mo, Joba, Logan, et al plus Montgomery. I’m sure Cash can find 1-2 guys on the scrap heap.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        I don’t really believe in Joba, and Mo is in his 40s and will be fresh off a severe knee injury next season. He’s no lock to be effective.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          The knee injury was a complete fluke.

          Cash, for all his faults, has done a good job through the years at acquiring pen guys who at least on the surface should be good. I’ll be worried if it’s next april and the situation hasn’t changed minus Soriano being gone.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Bullpen composition is always such a crapshoot as well. This is why, as much as it didn’t work, and as much as he got blasted for it, it’s hard to blame Cashman for taking a flyer on a guy like Qualls.

            A lot of it really is throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks.

      • Reggie C. says:

        The return of Kyle Farnsworth!

    • Mike Axisa says:

      They could take the $14M savings, use it to sign two good relievers, and still have about $4M leftover to spend elsewhere.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        I guess. The FA reliever list doesn’t look that great, though.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          If you’re starting from the point of view that Mo is too old, Joba may never be the same, and that there’s no one else out there, yeah, there’s nowhere to go there. It’s a pretty negativistic starting point.

      • TomH says:

        It’s all great IFF Mo, at advanced age and returning from a season lost to a serious knee injury, can rise once more to the occasion.

        If he does not, Nervous Nellie Robertson looks like he’ll have to do it, or maybe the Joba.

  12. Yank The Frank says:

    Adios…we’ll take our chances.

  13. kenthadley says:

    Don’t forget Aardsma

  14. this space for rent says:

    Who’s going to be our ray of sunshine now?

  15. Reggie C. says:

    Its sad that this report actually qualifies as “good” exciting news for most of us here. No doubt Soriano can get the Dodgers and maybe even the Boston Red Sox to bite.

  16. Drew says:

    The second he took over as the closer we all knew he was going to opt out. This isn’t much of a surprise. That being said, the payroll flexibility will definitely help the Yankees. You can take some of that money and sign a reliever or two or it can go towards a replacement RF for Swisher.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I’m hoping for Torii Hunter.

    • TomH says:

      This theory–”you can sign a replacement or two”–is great iff they turn out to be any good! What Rivera and Soriano provided was high-end closing. If your “replacement or two” can hold the fort prior to the 9th, well, OK then. But if they can’t…. Well, Robertson didn’t impress me as a closer, in that brief stint he had. As for Joba, I have no idea what to say about him. He could turn out to the king of closers or a complete bust. Neither would shock me.

  17. LarryM., Fl. says:

    This year I believe Soriano is worth the paycheck. The prior year was an enjoyed paid holiday. As far as saying goodbye and opting out,its his choice. If he moves on then work with what we have. I’m comfortable with MO, Joba, Robertson, Logan, Phelps and whatever upgrades Cashman can acquire with the found money from Soriano leaving.

    I have no problem with the Yankees living with restraint. The Arod contract is proof of a bad contract. This will impair the Yankees flexibility with FA’s and trades until it goes away. CC and Teix. may work out for us in the long run. We will see. Cano down the road may price himself out of our market being a Boras client. But, the decisions made this year will be the precursor of things to come.

  18. jon says:

    I guess my question is what do you give Mo? Hes coming off a knee surgery, hes another year older…are they just gonna slide that 14 million over to Mo?

    • this space for rent says:

      Yes, give it to Mo.

      It won’t even be a legacy contract. The man will likely earn every dime of it.

    • Ro says:

      My guess is $10m-$12m for one year. Probably $10m. Mariano is one of those rare ones that may see this as you paid me $15m for a year that I didn’t even pitch, I understand there are some concerns about my health, I have them too, so I’ll take $10m..type of thing. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is how it goes down, but we’ll see.

  19. CUYanks says:

    Thank you Chad Qualls.

  20. Nipples nancy says:

    Wasn’t Humberto Sanchez to be the closer of the future????

  21. JScott says:

    Wow, all these comments and not a single mention of Evil Randy Levine. It’s like he’s fallen down some weird memory hole, or something.

  22. CapitalT says:

    Cash gets to go back to loading up the pen with young, inexpensive power arms to lead to Mo. He will also load up AAA with the same.

  23. mick taylor says:

    they will have about 45 million if they lose soriano , swisher, feliciano, ibanez and jones and trade granderson . that could pay for two years of say a 5 year 25 million a year contract for josh hamilton.

  24. David K. says:

    Let him go if he opts out. Chances are, he’ll have an injury season next year anyway. We’ll have to bring up one our kids to be a short reliever and maybe sign one off the market. It’ll be open audition for the closer job with Mariano, Joba, Robertson, etc.

  25. RetroRob says:

    I mentioned this once before, but Soriano could optout and give himself a $1M pay increase for 2013. His contract calls for a $1.5M buyout if he trips his opt out. If the Yankees turn around and make the necessary qualfying offer of approximately $13.5M, Boras can turn right back around and accept it, meaning Soriano’s 2013 salary on the Yankees bumps from $14M to $15M. Unless Boras and the Yankees have an understanding up front, then Boras could bump Soriano’s contract (and his fee) up with a simple paperwork move.

    Now that really wouldn’t make for good relations moving forward, yet does Boras really care about those things? If he has the clients, the teams will come a calling.

  26. Bavarian Yankee says:

    great if true but let’s be honest: the Yankees will sign another reliever to a big multi-year contract if Soriano leaves (probably resign Soriano to the same 3 year deal he originally got), Levine will make it happen. I don’t know, I have a bad feeling when I think about the offseason. The more money they have, the uglier it gets. I already wanna blame Randy Levine again.

    Let’s trade Randy Levine to the Red Sox, let him burn their newfound money.

  27. Dicka24 says:

    Soriano has had a good year, but at the time, his deal with the Yankees was one of the more absurd in baseball. The only thing that’s made it salvagable, is Mo tearing up his knee. The problem is, you can’t plan for injuries. Paying a set up man $13 million per is outragoeus.

    I still have my doubts about Soriano opting out. I know he prefers to close, but what type of deal could he get on the open market? Closers, outside of the elite, don’t really get paid crazy deals. Especially when you see the Heath Bells of the world implode from one year to the next. Could he get 2 years and $16 million? 2/$20 million? I think that would be on the high side. Financially it makes more sense to stay for the $14 million here, and then look for a deal next offseason. If Soriano leaves, it’ll be a principled decision based on his preference to close, and how many players in todays game do that? Most always make decisions based on the highest dollar outcome possible.

    • RetroRob says:

      If he leaves, it will be a principled decision to make more money. The math is pretty straight forward. He walks away, he gets $1.5M from the Yankees. That makes his break-even point $12.5M. A 40+ save season, a sub 2.00 ERA can net him a three-year deal at $24-30M. That’s more than doubling his guaranteed money while he maintains his closer job. If he stays, he makes a higher annual average next year, but he loses his closer role, which will substantially impact what he gets in 2014 and beyond. He can also get injured and lose it all. The closer market is also not as strong this year as it was last year.

      He opts out.

  28. Leg-End says:

    Sori has grown on me but if he opts out he gives us far more flexibility.

  29. Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW) says:

    Good riddance. I wish a bunch of people would opt out.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Good riddance.


      Yes good riddance to a player that stepped in the closer’s role and had a good season.

  30. Nathan says:

    As much as having Soriano around given Mo’s injury was a potential season saver, I think the Yankees are much better with the available cash.

  31. All Praise Be To Mo says:

    Wow, I didn’t know Santa delivered my wishes this early, I must have been a really good boy this year.

  32. Tom says:

    I’m with FIPster on this.

    I don’t get why people are so eager to have him move on. Yes they can rebuild the bullpen but there are a ton of question marks (Mo, Joba, Aardsma?, Wade?, minor league guys) and Soriano is now essentially a 1 year deal – even if it is for too much, who cares? Sure they can spread that money around, but it is 1 year money so it’s not going to fill a long term need it’s just money for the bench or for a couple of more volatile relief arms.

    I don’t think it will be a complete disaster if he leaves, I just don’t get why people are so eager to have him off the roster. Mo/So/Ro/Jo/Lo with potentially Aardmsa would put an end to the 3 specialist madness. It would also allow a guy like Montgomery to break in slowly and gives them depth for the inevitable injury in the bullpen.

  33. Mike says:

    Too much money. We have other options.

  34. JobaWockeeZ says:

    We got so fucking lucky he’ll opt out. So much for “never opting out.”

  35. Pat D says:

    I love what he did for the Yankees, but I’m sure they could use that money better.

    As others said in the original story, it is kind of ironic about the compensation system being different. The Yankees are likely to lose Soriano and Swisher and won’t be able to benefit the way other teams always benefited from them signing other free agents.

  36. Dicka24 says:

    He’s a very good closer, and performed at a high level in NY which not everyone can do. From a performance basis, he’s very much worth having. From a financial perspective, $14 million for a closer is too much. Look at what guys like JJ Putz, Fernando Rodney, and Kyle Farsnworth cost. While finding a performing closer can be tricky, I think the Yankees are open to either outcome with Soriano. If he opts out they have $12.5 million to spend plus a draft pick. If he stays they have proven performance for the 9th that they’re only on the hook for another year for. The wild card is Mo. What happens if he does come back? Personally, I’d rather he opt out, the Yanks free up the cash, get a draft pick, and then hedge their bet with a deal for someone like Madson or Wilson (SF might non-tender him)who are coming off injury. They’d have Ardsma who has closed before (ewww). Ultimately for the Yankees, the greater concern I think is RF (Bye bye Swish), securing the rotation (Kuroda & Pettitte FA’s), and figuring out Arod.

  37. Bo Knows says:

    Bullpen will still be strong

    Aardasma (I know I butchered the spelling)
    Rapada (gotta love loogy’s)

    Phelps (if he’s not in the rotation)
    Montgomery coming up around mid to late season

    and of course a couple of the usual flyers on some relievers

  38. Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho says:

    If he takes option, he gets one year at $14M. If he declines option, the Yankees have to offer him $13.3M in order for them to get a sandwich pick. They definitely will (knowing that as a Scott Boras client he is unlikely to accept). So there is little risk. He has pitched like a quality closer on the big stage, so he hold all the cards. Why not see what the market will bear? It is likely to be a highly aggressive market for closers.

  39. your mom says:

    I hope Mark Montgomery is another DRob. But instead of the knockout curve, he has a knockout slider. Girardi will call him “Monty”, how cool is that?

    Let some other team overpay for MFIKY after he opts out.

  40. Pete says:

    Sori had a great year, and stepped up for us, he will make a very good closer somewhere else for 14 mil a season. Mo will return, and Robertson or Joba will have to step up.

  41. Nathan says:

    Thanks for last year Soriano but see ya. That $14M is better spent elsewhere.

  42. literallyfigurative says:

    I don’t want to lose Sori, given the uncertainty of Mo. Plus, I still want to see the bullpen of death together for one full season. we still want to compete next year. maybe we can go heavy on the pitching and build a more contact-oriented lineup. Trade grandy, bring back ichi, Gardy and find some stop-gap/ platoon for the other Of slot. Bring up romine, and have him share the C job with Martin. Try and sign cano for a fair superstar contract, if he wants to go to FA, then trade him. Sign David Ortiz to a 1 year deal to Dh. If you can pull off a non-stupid trade for ARod, go ahead.

  43. vicki says:

    i resented his 2011, not just big money for no production; but also his expression and demeanor, which seemed to bespeak apathy. that’s some face.

    but he won me over. when frankie frank ran his mouth off about the team it was reported that sori went about the clubhouse asking everybody “what’s up, chickens?” that kills me.

    motherfucker imma miss you.

  44. Reuben Sierra's Chains says:

    See ya later Soriano. Don’t let that Untucked Jersey get stuck in the door on the way out. Oh and lose the attitude also.

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