Recent rumors have the Washington Nationals going after Grant Balfour who recently pitched for the Oakland Athletics. The “Rage” would be a great addition to the Nationals in a lot of ways, one being insurance for the ninth inning in case Rafael Soriano can’t get the job done. Another being, a shutdown seventh or eighth inning guy to go along with his former teammate in Oakland Jerry Blevins and veteran Nat Tyler Clippard. Making this move would put Drew Storen on the trading block.
While all of this is happening yesterday all I can think about is Rafael Soriano. I have grown up my whole life as a Cincinnati Reds fan, but I am a baseball fan first, which is why I write for District on Deck. You aren’t always going to get to write about your favorite team so I decided to take a challenge. That challenge has been successful so far in me being unbiased as much as possible. You have to be a realist in baseball. We all know that your favorite player might not be the best of all-time and you have to let that dream go and come to the real situation that he isn’t the best. My favorite player was Barry Larkin growing up and still is and I thought he was the best. Was he the best? No, but he is a Hall of Famer, and I had to come to terms with myself and finally believe that Larkin wasn’t the best of all-time. That is where Rafael Soriano comes in.
Is Rafael Soriano the best closer in baseball? No. Does he get the job done and close games for the Washington Nationals? Yes. That is all that matters really. It doesn’t matter if the bases were loaded and Freddie Freeman was at the plate, when he grounded out and the Nationals won. Soriano got the save, that is what matters. The story the next day would have been that Soriano let three runners on with Freeman at the plate. That is all an afterthought people. The job got done and that is all that matters in this game. You either win or you lose, there is no well the bases were loaded and since that is the case he isn’t a good closer. False. He closed the game, the Nationals got the win and are one win closer to 100 on the season. That is what matters people.
So finally is Soriano’s job safe? Absolutely. He had a bad first season in New York (AL) and turned it around in his second season before coming to the Nats. Why can’t he do that same here. He didn’t even have a bad season in 2013. He saved 43 games and finished 58. You can’t complain about that. Not every closer is going to be Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. There probably won’t be one of them again for a very long time. You have to be thankful for Soriano and the games that he does close. The Nationals could have Carlos Marmol as their closer. Think about that one for a second.
The one thing lying in front of Soriano in 2014 is a contract that says if he finishes 62 games, he is guaranteed $15 million for 2015. How much say will Mike Rizzo have about that when it gets close? I will go out on a limb and say every single bit of the say. It may not be the right move to do so, but Clippard will most likely be the closer for the Nationals in 2015. Rizzo will make sure Soriano doesn’t get to finish 62 games in 2014.