Thursday, January 6, 2011

BD Hot Stove: You Won’t Be Sori | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: You Won’t Be Sori | Baseball Digest

While many a set up man has inked a pricey, multi-year deal, closer Rafael Soriano has sat back and waited. Waited for the right situation- be it money, length of contract or team. So today the hot stove will focus on the possible landing spots for a hard throwing right-hander that nailed down 45 saves in 48 opportunities last season.

As a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Soriano held opponents to a .163 batting average and had a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 2010. He allowed just 36 hits and 14 walks in 62.1 innings pitched. His numbers far outweigh those of other relievers already signed and is looking for money equivalent to a pitcher of his stature. Fellow free agent Mariano Rivera received $15M per season on a two year deal from the Yankees. With the Red Sox signing inconsistent closer Bobby Jenks to a two year, $12M deal (albeit to set up for now), Soriano’s money total should fall somewhere in between.

Soriano is just 31 years of age and has made 141 appearances over the last two seasons after missing most of 2008 campaign with an elbow injury. The time is now for him to grab major money, but who is left to give it to him?

AL East

There are a number of fans and members of the media who feel the Yankees will go hard after Soriano. Some think it depends on whether or not Andy Pettitte returns. Really one should have nothing to do with the other. Pettitte should affect the starting rotation and the rotation only. The Yankees would love to have Soriano to set up and serve as insurance for Rivera, but would Soriano be willing to take possibly a one year deal (not likely) and serve in a set up capacity (maybe)?

The Red Sox are the only other team that has the money to sign Soriano, but they’re big spending is done.

AL Central

The White Sox have spent a lot of money this winter, primarily on shoring up their offense. With Jenks gone, and no established closer, Soriano would be a good fit. But he may not be a fit for the payroll. Still, I can see Kenny Williams making Soriano an offer he can’t refuse.

Everyone else in the division has an established closer, can’t afford Soriano, and/or isn’t good enough to invest in him.

AL West

The Rangers have already said they’ll pass on Soriano, and they’ll stick to that answer. A’s GM Billy Beane makes some crazy signings/trades (Ben Sheets, Matt Holliday) in hopes of getting a huge return in a deadline deal, but that’s not happening this time around. The Mariners aren’t going to invest in a closer when they’re team is so mediocre. That leaves the Angels who have not been able to spend owner Artie Moreno’s money this winter. It may not make a lot of sense for the Angels true needs, but the Halos could have a great one-two punch with Scott Downs, whom the Angels gave a three year, $15M deal, out of the bullpen. It would also mean guaranteeing Soriano at least three years.

NL East

The Phillies won’t say it, but if they could get a taker for Brad Lidge, they certainly would try to sign Soriano. If the Nationals have money left after Jayson Werth’s signing, I could see them making a strong bid so that a youngster like Drew Storen isn’t thrust into the closer’s role just yet. No one else in the division has the money to make this sort of move.

NL Central

Pirates? Not happening Reds? Unless they move Francisco Cordero, not happening. Astros? They need bats not arms. Cardinals? Ryan Franklin is the guy, though like the Angels they could make a good one-two punch. But who would close? Cubs? Already set with Marmol and Wood.

NL West

The Giants are the kind of team that has the money to bring in Soriano, but with Brian Wilson the closer incumbent on a World Series winner, it’s not likely to happen. Though GM Brian Sabean could put some floaters out there to see if Soriano would set up for the right price.

The Rockies could certainly make a solid offer and combine him with Huston Street or possibly then move Street.

At some other point the Dodgers would certainly be contenders, but their too busy fighting over custody of 2nd base and the Padres don’t have enough in the collection basket.

Wild guess – Soriano ends up as a White Sox. Long shot- SF Giant.

Rumors, News, Transactions

Edgar Renteria’s hometown newspaper “El Heraldo” reports that the native of Barrinquilla, Colombia has signed a one year deal with the Cincinnati Reds. It will be Renteria’s 7th team in his 15 year career. The deal is said to be worth $3M plus incentives.

Jon Heyman reports the Yankees are willing to offer Andy Pettitte $12M or $13M to return in 2011. It may take more than that.

Another reliever still on the market is lefty Brian Fuentes, who has told teams he wants to close. Good luck with that.

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Orioles, Angels, and Rays are interested in free agentVlad Guerrero, and the Rays also have some interest in Manny Ramirez.

The Phillies have signed veteran Delwyn Young to a minor league deal.

1 comment:

  1. The Blue Jays do not have an established closer and could easily afford Soriano. But you are right in that it's highly unlikely that they would go after Soriano at their stage of development.