The Rays made their deal for Braves reliever Rafael Soriano official today, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. He says the Rays came to terms on a one-year, $7.25MM deal with Soriano, who was acquired from Atlanta for reliever Jesse Chavez. A reminder on how this all played out:
On December 1st, the Braves made arbitration offers to Type A free agent relievers Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, expecting both to decline. The Braves moved quickly to sign Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito in the days following, making it clear that Soriano and Gonzalez would have lesser roles if they returned. Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client, declined arbitration. But after his agent talked to teams all day Monday at the Winter Meetings, Soriano decided the best move was to accept arbitration (otherwise, he would've cost his signing team a draft pick). The Braves held talks with the Orioles, Astros, and Rays at the Meetings, eventually shipping Soriano to Tampa Bay for Chavez. So the Braves hoped to get two draft picks for the loss of Soriano, but instead received five years of Chavez.
And from the Rays' point of view…back in November, a few days before they had to decide between second baseman Akinori Iwamura's $4.85MM option and a $550K buyout, they traded him to the Pirates for Chavez. It was a solid move, Chavez being under team control through 2014. Still, he wasn't a guy to whom they'd hand over the ninth inning. The Rays were expected to add a few bargain free agents to compete for the closer job, with owner Stuart Sternberg saying on December 6th, "There is no $7 million closer showing up." Maybe Sternberg was being literal, as the Rays sent Chavez to the Braves and now have a $7.25 million closer.