When the World Series comes to an end, players in the last year of their contract become free agents, and this season one of those players for the Nationals is Rafael Soriano. According to the mlb trade rumor tracker Soriano has a $14 million vesting/club option this winter. His club option will not vest since he did not reach 120 games finished in his two seasons with the club. He was only able to finish 106 games, 58 last season, 48 this season. So now the deal is up to Mike Rizzo and the front office management of the Nats as to whether he is re-signed or not.
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Should the Nats re-sign Rafael Soriano? My quick and easy answer is no. The 2014 season was a lot better than 2013 numbers wise, but he will be turning 35, and has had problems throwing strikes consistently in the past. The Nats have taken him out of the closer role in two consecutive years and now the job is back in the hands of right-hander Drew Storen. Storen showed some shakiness in the postseason, just like he did in 2012, right before they signed Soriano, but I still believe Storen is the right guy for the job.
If the Nationals do end up taking the $14 million, which I don’t believe they will, but if they do, what does that tell Drew Storen? That would be two postseasons as the closer of the Nationals, and two offseasons in which they signed or re-signed a closer to replace him. Storen had a great regular season, and that can not be forgotten. Soriano has been very shaky in the regular season, but did throw a scoreless inning in his postseason appearance against the San Francisco Giants. If the Nats re-sign Soriano does that put Storen out on the market? There are a lot of questions surrounding the contract of Rafael Soriano and he is an interesting player.
Soriano has saved 75 games over the last two seasons, but only pitches in a save situation or just finishing the game for the Nats. He hasn’t been awarded the opportunity to pitch in different roles throughout the bullpen, that may make him a better threat to opposing hitters. Sometimes the game is on the line in the sixth or seventh inning and that could be the perfect spot to put Soriano in the game and still have Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen late in the game. It would be interesting to see that play out, but I don’t think Mike Rizzo and the front office want to take that risk with the right-handed reliever.
Once the World Series comes to a close, it shouldn’t be long after that the Nationals make a decision on Soriano. For all we know they have already made a decision and are just waiting to make it official. All of these questions will be answered very shortly, but in my mind, the Nationals do not spend $14 million on Rafael Soriano.