Oct. 2, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano (29) pitches during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Yankees win 4-3 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Sign Rafael Soriano To Two-Year Deal

News has broken that the Washington Nationals have come to an agreement with relief pitcher Rafael Soriano on a two-year contract worth $14 million per year.

On the surface, a lot of surprise has come up with this deal considering the late innings had been slated to go to Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. This may mean there is another deal in the works.

My best guess is that one of them will be packaged with Mike Morse to make a super-trade and get either prospect depth close to the Major Leagues or get a similar reliever who throws with his left hand.

Another possibility? The Nationals ship Soriano to another team who trades the Nationals a prospect. That way the team that gets Soriano doesn’t forfeit their first round pick and the Nationals get a prospect equivalent of what they would have gotten for their first round pick for their trouble. Like I said, it’s out there but who knows what General Manager Mike Rizzo is thinking.

Soriano had a good season last year in New York pitching in 69 games (finishing 54) with a 2.26 ERA. He had a 2-1 record and saved 42 of 46 save opportunities. Soriano also was very effective against left-handed hitters which is something the Nationals may see in him. He actually faced more left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters last year, and held them to a .221 average and five home runs. The .221 average is not as good as top lefties like Eric O’Flaherty, but similar to a Darren Oliver. Rizzo may have looked at the possible options from the left side and decided he couldn’t do much better than someone like Soriano who can provide help in the late innings especially given the 9th inning of Game Five of the National League Division Series. Not a knock on Storen, but you can never have enough bullpen options even though paying for one is often not necessary. Again, you also have Tyler Clippard who held left handed hitters to a .170 average last year. This frees Clippard up to get left-handed hitters in high pressure spots.

My head says a trade is in the works. My gut says the Nationals may open the season with all three right handers in their bullpen.

Tags: Drew Storen Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Washington Nationals

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