On Soriano, and why he isn't coming back
There's been a theory, or at least a hope, circulating among Rays fans that still un-signed free agent Rafael Soriano could end up back in Tampa Bay. The operating premise being that he has no other offers and would take a low-end deal for the opportunity to close again. We've pointed out a couple times - and again last weekend - that, even if his market is limited, such a move remains extremely unlikely.
And to further support that view, consider this nugget today from ESPN's Buster Olney in his Insider column:
Heard this: The question of what role Rafael Soriano will play for his next team is very much secondary to what his salary will be. In other words, if some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45 million over the next three years, Soriano would consider it; he is looking for a lucrative deal, which is absolutely his prerogative.
So if Soriano, who made $7.25-million last season while leading the AL with 45 saves, is still intent on getting that big-money deal (a rumored $48-million over four years) he was seeking when he switched just before the end of the season to agent Scott Boras, it wouldn't seem there's any chance he'd take a low-end deal to come back to the Rays just to close on a contending team. Plus, it wouldn't look that good for Boras for him to end up going back to his team without getting a big contract.
(Plus, here's another point - if Soriano came back to the Rays on a low-end deal, he might not be too happy about it, which could impact his performance. And by signing him back, the Rays would forfeit the two drafts picks they'd get otherwise.)
It sounds more and more like Soriano is waiting for the best deal, even if it means taking a secondary role (for example, setting up for the Yankees) or going with a non-contending team that has money (for example, the Nationals). And there are still some contending teams that have money that may just be trying to wait him out, such as the White Sox and Angels.