Rafael Soriano May Accept Arbitration

6:56pm: Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman he'd expect Soriano to request a trade if he accepts arbitration.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports expects this decision to go down to the buzzer.

12:40pm: MLB.com's Mark Bowman says Soriano's agent Peter Greenberg will make the rounds today, talking to as many teams as possible before making the arbitration decision.

11:29am: Heyman notes that Soriano has attracted interest from the Yankees, Orioles, and Astros.  The Yankees would give up their #32 pick, the Orioles #37, or the Astros #43.

9:54am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that if he accepts arbitration, Soriano cannot be traded before June 1st without his permission.  I imagine he'd approve a deal in order to get a better role, though.  Can Soriano find a two-year deal on the open market, given his health history and the draft pick cost?

MONDAY, 8:56am: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Mark Bowman of MLB.com are throwing out slightly lower estimates of $6.5-7.5MM for Soriano if he accepts arbitration.  Both seem to believe Soriano should or will turn down arbitration.  But keep it mind that it is certainly in the Braves' best interest for stories to pop up explaining why Soriano should test the open market.

SUNDAY, 9:09pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that Soriano is "now leaning toward accepting arbitration." That would make for a pretty pricey end-game trio in Atlanta, and suggests that maybe there isn't as much interest in his services as expected.

SATURDAY, 5:30pm: After it was reported earlier this week that Braves reliever Rafael Soriano would look for employment elsewhere, his agent tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that his client is giving serious consideration to accepting arbitration.

This would leave Atlanta with a rather pricey bullpen as they recently inked both Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to a combined guaranteed $10.2MM in 2010.  Earlier this week, a high-ranking executive told Buster Olney that Soriano could net roughly $8MM in arbitration.  Furthermore, this would likely mean that the soon-to-be 30-year-old would have to accept a role as a set-up man rather than close for Atlanta.

Soriano's agent Peter Greenberg told Crasnick that Soriano would take the decision "down to the wire."  One has to think that the Braves will be less than pleased if the Type A free agent chooses to accept arbitration at this stage.  Did Atlanta jump the gun by signing Wagner and Saito?  Let's hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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