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Thursday January 20, 2011 12:03 am

Rafael Soriano signs, will wear pinstripes




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Rafael SorianoWell, it’s not all bad for the Tampa Bay Rays, right? They lost Carl Crawford to their division rivals in Boston recently and will have to face him 18 times this season. Now Rafael Soriano, their startlingly effective closer in 2010, has jumped ships to another division rival – the New York Yankees. The good news at least is that the Rays won’t have to face him coming out of the bullpen 18 times, right? Right?

Soriano inked a deal with the Yankees, becoming the highest-paid setup man in baseball. He’ll warm up the mound for Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning, earning up to $35 million over the next three seasons. 45 saves and a 1.73 ERA in the AL East will earn that for a guy. At 31-years-old, he also might be the heir apparent to Rivera once he calls it a career and waits his call to Cooperstown. In the meantime, Soriano will become another pawn in the pinstripe machine.

What’s interesting about this signing is that Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn’t want to even make this deal; at least not for $35 million, but owner Hal Steinbrenner put his foot down in typical “it’s only money” fashion to bring in Soriano. You can’t fault Steinbrenner for doing it. The Yankees can afford to pay the contract and Soriano has proved his worth as a reliever. He only makes the Yankees better after a shaky 2010.

The actual good news for the Rays is that they’ll pick up New York’s first round draft pick for losing Soriano. It’s not a particularly good pick, but it will help them replenish a decimated roster in the future. Perhaps Tampa Bay’s window of opportunity is past, but if history has shown us anything, it’s that this team knows how to draft well and it won’t be long before they’re knocking on the door of a World Series championship again.

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