Free Agent Stock Watch: Rafael Soriano

According to David Ortiz, Rafael Soriano deserves to be signed to a five-year contract this winter. While Soriano is enjoying a fantastic season for the Tampa Bay Rays, he probably shouldn't hold out hope for a B.J. Ryan-esque deal. That doesn't mean, however, that Soriano won't be one of the most interesting free agents on the market this winter.

A year ago, Soriano unexpectedly accepted an arbitration offer from the Braves, since he and his agent were worried the right-hander's Type A designation would make teams reluctant to give up two draft picks to sign him. The Braves, who added Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to their bullpen, had no room in their budget for Soriano and dealt him to the Rays. This year, Soriano is in a similar situation; not only is he projected to be a Type A again, but his 91.232 Elias score currently ranks him ahead of every major free agent, including Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth.

Of course, barring a late-season collapse, Soriano will be coming off a campaign even more impressive than his 2009. His strikeout rate has dipped a little, but his ERA (1.82) and WHIP (0.79) have improved significantly, and those 43 saves won't hurt his stock either. The 30-year-old seems more likely to turn down arbitration and pursue a multi-year deal this time around, which puts Tampa Bay in a win-win situation. If Soriano accepts arbitration, he would be a valuable trade chip for the cost-cutting Rays. If the righty turns down arbitration, the Rays could be looking at not only a sandwich pick, but a first round selection as well, given his Elias ranking. If a club with an unprotected first round pick signed both Soriano and Victor Martinez, for instance, that team would be sending their first rounder to the Rays, rather than the Red Sox.

Last winter, Fernando Rodney and Jose Valverde signed two-year guarantees worth $11.5MM and $14MM respectively. Rodney earned his contract in part due to a gaudy save total (37), while Valverde earned his due to impressive ratios (2.33 ERA, 9.3 K/9). Not only has Soriano bested Rodney's save count and many of Valverde's peripherals this year, but he'll also be younger than either right-hander was when they signed their deals.

So what sort of contract could Soriano command this winter? Even if his multiple elbow surgeries make some suitors wary, Soriano's consecutive healthy, effective seasons should earn him a lucrative multi-year pact. The 30-year-old should at least receive a two-year offer worth $18MM or so, and he could end up doing even better than that. Especially if Ortiz lands a general manager job.


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95 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Rafael Soriano"


Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Interesting how things work, if he didn’t accept arb last season, no way he ends up on the Rays.

But I think Soriano will be happy with any deal he gets this off-season. I say more teams will be in on him than maybe any other player on the market not named Carl Crawford. But if I had to just make a crazy prediction…I say he signs with the Angels…maybe 2 years $20MM with an option based on games pitched during the duration of both seasons.

I really like the free agent stock watch guys. Hopefully we will have enough time before Nov. 20 to make a post about every free agent and non-tender candidate. I guess that would be like 150-200 or something like that? And theres maybe been like 30-50 all together? I think MLBTR can pull if off!

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

I’d say Angels would much rather spend that money getting a positional player like Werth or Crawford instead of spending that much money on a closer. I realize he is a good one but they really need to make their rotation and line-up better and that should be a priority before fixing the pen.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Actually, now that I think about it, you are exactly right. I think the Angels need to get back to Speed and defense and Alberto Callaspo does not qualify. Good point Sniderlover. I was thinking though that the Angels pen has been such a question. Maybe their best bet is to acquire a closer. Fabio Martinez Mesa, Luis Jimenez, Garrett Richards, and Segura could probably acquire Papelbon like that. But maybe Soriano could be a decent fit for a team like the Twins maybe…Blue Jays, Twins, Rays, Nationals, Cardinals, Mariners, Phillies, and Diamondbacks are some teams that come to mind. But we’ll see.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Maybe it’s just me but I think Paplebon gets non-tendered or signed and traded if they are able to find a suitor to take his entire salary. I think Boston would rather let their cheap Bard be the closer and spend that money on signing Martinez, Beltre, Werth, Crawford, Dunn (you get the idea) and maybe spend money on getting solid relievers that are cheaper. Like Downs for example, instead of getting Paplebon for 1 year at 12, they could use that and sign Downs to 3y/12 mil or sign Frasor (assuming he hits B) to something like 3yr/7.5 – but maybe its just me.

Twins have Capps and perhaps a healthy Nathan next season so I doubt they go after him. Phillies don’t have the money, Rays probably won’t pony up the money. Cards could be a fit but they may decide to use their payroll on re-signing Pujols. Diamondbacks could be an interesting team that may be in play but if Soriano is looking to sign with a contender then I think White Sox could be a good fit.

Wouldn’t mind if Jays signed him for reasonable money and terms (2-3 years + vesting option at max).

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

I have a problem seeing a situation where Pap gets non-tendered. Don’t get me wrong because I love Bard but he hasn’t showed he can handle the closer job yet.I see him going to arb and getting his money. A trade could be considered after that but idk. If they did trade him they would be forced to find a new 8th inning guy and I don’t think the Sox will give up their unprotected 1st round pick and another pick (in one of the deepest draft classes) for a 34 yr old. There are other options but I think Pap + a few low risk guys that Theo loves in the bullpen (Balfour for example) would be more of what I see happening.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

I have a problem seeing a situation where Pap gets non-tendered. Don’t get me wrong because I love Bard but he hasn’t showed he can handle the closer job yet.I see him going to arb and getting his money. A trade could be considered after that but idk. If they did trade him they would be forced to find a new 8th inning guy and I don’t think the Sox will give up their unprotected 1st round pick and another pick (in one of the deepest draft classes) for a 34 yr old. There are other options but I think Pap + a few low risk guys that Theo loves in the bullpen (Balfour for example) would be more of what I see happening.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Balfour is the same as Downs. Type A.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

My bad. I was unsure and assumed B.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Gotcha

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Gotcha

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Balfour is the same as Downs. Type A.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Ah well I didn’t want to get into the details but realistically, I see them signing Downs if say they let Martinez walks? They get a 1st back so using your own first wouldn’t be that big, especially when you consider 1st rounders do fall to 2nd or even 3rd round due to sign-ability and due to Boston being Boston, they can work with that. It all depends on what management wants to do, contend to build a great farm? They already have a solid one and considering how much they spent on signing their high picks, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of signing Downs.

As for Paplebon, you could be right but I think it may depend on how high the management is on Bard. If they think he is ready, then it can happen.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Think about what Sniderlover is saying this way. Maybe not non-tendering him, but if the Sox do pay Pap his money, they might not be able to sign Beltre or V-Mart. But if they do let Pap go, they have so many more opportunities and even if Bard isn’t ready, they have much more leverage. I do think Bard is ready, but Papelbon might able to be turned in to 2 solid reliever for example where as the bullpen minus Bard and Pap is nothing.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Think about what Sniderlover is saying this way. Maybe not non-tendering him, but if the Sox do pay Pap his money, they might not be able to sign Beltre or V-Mart. But if they do let Pap go, they have so many more opportunities and even if Bard isn’t ready, they have much more leverage. I do think Bard is ready, but Papelbon might able to be turned in to 2 solid reliever for example where as the bullpen minus Bard and Pap is nothing.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t disagree or agree. But you have a really, really interesting point that is definetly something to think about.

So you are also saying that keeping Papelbon may prevent the Sox from keeping Beltre for example?

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

It could, I don’t know what their payroll is right now or what it would with the expiring contracts but it definitely could. I have a hard time believing they will re-sign Beltre, V-Mart and pay 12 mil to Paplebon while also needing a replacement for big papi (assuming they don’t pick up the option) and I’m sure it would be very tough to fit all that in even with Boston payroll being so high.

EDIT: Doesn’t Beckett contract also kick in?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, I hear ya. I think you are right. We’ll just see what happens.

johnsilver
4 years 11 months ago

I can’t see them just non tendering Papelbon, it won’t happen, but if he pitches the same shakey way next season do see him being let walk as a FA next season without being offered arbitration and this season seeing if anyone will give anything up for him even. Boston will be rebuilding the BP with cast off pieces this off season and Doubront/Bowden in ST, to go along with Atchison and Bard. Only those 2 are guaranteed spots as far as I can see and a cast of pieces in ST. Okajima will be gone, probably replace by Doubrant and 3 new pieces beside those.

VMart can’t be afforded for what he is going to contribute down the road that can see and is just not worth it for the short term defensively. Better off to just let him walk and find something for a season and put Exposito/Lavarnway on the forced fast track. Either let Salty get some AB’s this season over ‘Tek and Vmart to see if he can hit, or plan on Buck, or Oliva as a FA for a season maybe.

Would really love for Epstein to focus 1st and foremost on Beltre and get something done with him fast, but with Boras it ain’t going to happen of course and end up getting dragged out. if could get him for 3/40, or 4-50 it sure would be nice.

johnsilver
4 years 11 months ago

I can’t see them just non tendering Papelbon, it won’t happen, but if he pitches the same shakey way next season do see him being let walk as a FA next season without being offered arbitration and this season seeing if anyone will give anything up for him even. Boston will be rebuilding the BP with cast off pieces this off season and Doubront/Bowden in ST, to go along with Atchison and Bard. Only those 2 are guaranteed spots as far as I can see and a cast of pieces in ST. Okajima will be gone, probably replace by Doubrant and 3 new pieces beside those.

VMart can’t be afforded for what he is going to contribute down the road that can see and is just not worth it for the short term defensively. Better off to just let him walk and find something for a season and put Exposito/Lavarnway on the forced fast track. Either let Salty get some AB’s this season over ‘Tek and Vmart to see if he can hit, or plan on Buck, or Oliva as a FA for a season maybe.

Would really love for Epstein to focus 1st and foremost on Beltre and get something done with him fast, but with Boras it ain’t going to happen of course and end up getting dragged out. if could get him for 3/40, or 4-50 it sure would be nice.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, I hear ya. I think you are right. We’ll just see what happens.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

It could, I don’t know what their payroll is right now or what it would with the expiring contracts but it definitely could. I have a hard time believing they will re-sign Beltre, V-Mart and pay 12 mil to Paplebon while also needing a replacement for big papi (assuming they don’t pick up the option) and I’m sure it would be very tough to fit all that in even with Boston payroll being so high.

EDIT: Doesn’t Beckett contract also kick in?

Fangaffes
4 years 11 months ago

Seems unlikely. Both Lowell ($12M) and Lugo ($9M) are coming off the books, so they have plenty of money to play with without getting rid of Papelbon. Even if they re-sign all their big free agents.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t disagree or agree. But you have a really, really interesting point that is definetly something to think about.

So you are also saying that keeping Papelbon may prevent the Sox from keeping Beltre for example?

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I could see him getting a 3 year/27 mill deal.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

I was thinking that…But it’s the injury concern thats a factor. Unlike Valverde getting 3 years, Soriano is really having a breakout season and his 1st season where he really deserves that kind of multi year deal.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

FA markets are so thin these days. Every player coming off a decent year gets an extra year and a few extra mil then they really deserve.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

true. i guess we’ll see.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

true. i guess we’ll see.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

Not surprising at all (I do come across as a pessimist don’t I?) but I hope a team doesn’t commit big years and money to this guy. He will probably get his money because of K/9 and BB/9 but he had similar rates in ’07 but he couldn’t keep up the BB/9 in ’09 (was hurt in ’08) but had success because of a great (and career high) K/9. But he will be 32 next year and if his BB/9 regresses and he can’t keep up his Ks that could spell trouble for a guy being paid to be a top closer. He could also be in trouble if he goes to a park that gives up a lot of homeruns. He has a FB% over 50% yet a HR/FB of just 4.8% (lowest of his career outside of ’03). This is why his xFIP is high. I’m not saying he isn’t a good closer (he is) but I see him as a more than volatile situation and a big risk for a team looking to sign him (especially given his injury history).

4 years 11 months ago

Soriano should get at least a 3 year deal. Not like the one Frankie Rodriguez got but like around 8-9 MM per?

4 years 11 months ago

I know from experience that Soriano buckles down hard in contract years.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

and that differs from any and every other player how exactly?

4 years 11 months ago

Not every other player dogs it in the rest of the years of their contract. Soriano had phantom injuries and illnesses and didn’t give his all before he reached a contract year. If he had pitched to his ability before last season, he may not be worrying about getting a multi-year deal now.

4 years 11 months ago

Not every other player dogs it in the rest of the years of their contract. Soriano had phantom injuries and illnesses and didn’t give his all before he reached a contract year. If he had pitched to his ability before last season, he may not be worrying about getting a multi-year deal now.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 11 months ago

with the one exception being Carlos Pena, who has single handley destroyed all of his value in this season

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

and that differs from any and every other player how exactly?

4 years 11 months ago

I know from experience that Soriano buckles down hard in contract years.

Beachbummer
4 years 11 months ago

Screw The JAYS, SUX and Yanks. Go Rays!!! Parlay Crawford and Soriano into the next generation of awesome Rays teams. Screw Drabek, Ortiz, Martinez and all those crappy players. The Rays have the world in the palm of their hands and its only gonna get better!!!!

jb226
4 years 11 months ago

Classy.

jb226
4 years 11 months ago

Classy.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

I hate bandwagoners.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 11 months ago

I’m from Connecticut and I noticed a sharp decline in people wearing Red Sox gear, not too long ago it seemed everyone here was a “red sox” fan. To be fair, its even happened with “Yankee” fans here too. It’s frustrating as fans like you and I that stick with our teams no matter what.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

I hate bandwagoners.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

tsk tsk … you would think that a decade in last place would make fans more humble.

myname_989
4 years 11 months ago

I didn’t realize leading the Wild Card entitled you to having the world in the palm of your hand…

Fangaffes
4 years 11 months ago

Somehow I don’t think it’s the “world” he’s got in the palm of his hand.

myname_989
4 years 11 months ago

LMFAO

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 11 months ago

just remember, if your team has a few years of mediocre to below average drafts, you can say hello to the american league east cellar once again. Don’t be overconfident.

HerbertAnchovy
4 years 11 months ago

Intelligent comment. In reality, you better get used to the Rays cutting payroll.

DanHaren
4 years 11 months ago

SCREW YOUR COMMENT!!

Beachbummer
4 years 11 months ago

Screw The JAYS, SUX and Yanks. Go Rays!!! Parlay Crawford and Soriano into the next generation of awesome Rays teams. Screw Drabek, Ortiz, Martinez and all those crappy players. The Rays have the world in the palm of their hands and its only gonna get better!!!!

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

I could see Soriano signing a 3 year deal, but I’m not sure on which team he would land. Texas if they shift Feliz to the rotation. Anaheim if they don’t trust Rodney (not that I would). Cincinnati if they can dump Cordero (they’ve had history of signing closers to long and unreasonable contracts). Perhaps Atlanta if they don’t like their internal options to replace Wagner. Toronto would have an opening unless they haphazardly trust Gregg. Maybe the Orioles if they try to make a bit of a splash.

Most of the other places that have openings at closer won’t spend the money to get him (Florida, Pitt, and Tampa). Plus, the Sox will probably try and move Papelbon.

If I had to guess, I say he ends up in Baltimore on a 3 year deal for around 25 million.

4 years 11 months ago

Atlanta likes their internal options, I seriously doubt Soriano comes back to the Braves.

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

I could see Soriano signing a 3 year deal, but I’m not sure on which team he would land. Texas if they shift Feliz to the rotation. Anaheim if they don’t trust Rodney (not that I would). Cincinnati if they can dump Cordero (they’ve had history of signing closers to long and unreasonable contracts). Perhaps Atlanta if they don’t like their internal options to replace Wagner. Toronto would have an opening unless they haphazardly trust Gregg. Maybe the Orioles if they try to make a bit of a splash.

Most of the other places that have openings at closer won’t spend the money to get him (Florida, Pitt, and Tampa). Plus, the Sox will probably try and move Papelbon.

If I had to guess, I say he ends up in Baltimore on a 3 year deal for around 25 million.

ronny9
4 years 11 months ago

Soriano will get 3 years 26 million with a club option for the 4th year at 9.5 million….

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 11 months ago

Unfortunately for the Rays, Soriano has performed himself out Tampa

4 years 11 months ago

Sign this guy to more than a one year deal and all of a sudden he’ll be getting mysterious arm cramps that will miraculously disappear right before his final contract year.

4 years 9 months ago

Well, Tim predicts Soriano to the Angels but I just don’t see it happening. The Angels have gone the free agent route for a closer the last two years without any real success. I don’t see them trying it again, especially when they have some candidates “in house”. Also, with Soriano’s agent being Scott Boras, I don’t think there is any way they will sign a five year deal… at least I hope not!

4 years 8 months ago

i can see a chicago team signing him due to the fact that they both need relief help. Chi-Sox got rid of most of their bullpen and Cubs didn’t have a legit guy in the bullpen last year, other than Marmol of course.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Why are you getting so worked up about it? He’s just offering his opinion… just like we do here.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

umadbro?

Fangaffes
4 years 11 months ago

Ortiz just made it harder for a division rival to re-sign their closer. And that’s a problem for you?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

yeah really. He should be thankful for MLBTR in general. By the way SniderLover, call out of work tomorow or cancel your dinner plans tomorow night…DRABEK’S PITCHING!

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

But but but the Leafs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

I hope Drabek eats up that Seattle pathetic offense.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

i’ll be sitting 4th row behind the jays dugout!

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

i’ll be sitting 4th row behind the jays dugout!

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

oh and ps. drabeks pitching wednesday.. Rzep is pitching Tuesday!

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Leafes? Shrubs? Bushes? Trees? Bark? Grass? Twigs? Smores? Branches? Whatever the case…

LET’S GO DRABEK AND THE JAYS!b>

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t understand how saying Soriano getting a 5 year deal makes Ortiz less focused at his job.

jwredsox
4 years 11 months ago

He was asked the question by a reporter. Not like he came out and said this in the middle of a press conference. I have no problem with this.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Me neither.

Seriously people pay too much attention to what players nowadays. It’s like one little thing they say, everyone starts making a big deal about it.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Are we talking about what he said about Crawford? We’re talking about Soriano and yeah I don’t agree with him saying what teams he should sign with but I doubt saying this affected his game at all…

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I was watching the red sox jays game last week. and Sam consentino interviewed big papi, and asked him a few questions about jose bautista, if he’ll hit 50 hr’s, whats good about his swing, etc… What is big papi to do? Say no comment, I have to concentrate on the game and my tasks? He’s a star player he has to fill the role and be the media darling.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I was watching the red sox jays game last week. and Sam consentino interviewed big papi, and asked him a few questions about jose bautista, if he’ll hit 50 hr’s, whats good about his swing, etc… What is big papi to do? Say no comment, I have to concentrate on the game and my tasks? He’s a star player he has to fill the role and be the media darling.

4 years 11 months ago

we’re all against you. shut up.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

lol

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

lol

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

priceless

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

priceless

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Lol I am so watching the Leafs now… well I can watch them for 5 straight days. 😀

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

Lol I am so watching the Leafs now… well I can watch them for 5 straight days. 😀

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

4 things:

definetly going to look for you behind the Jays dugout.

I’m jealous

Wednesday not tuesday. Right! my bad.

Remember what I told you all that way back…Watching Drabek in person might be one of the most fun things you will ever do ever. EVER!

By any chance do you have an extra ticket? Want to bring your boy Spanny?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

4 things:

definetly going to look for you behind the Jays dugout.

I’m jealous

Wednesday not tuesday. Right! my bad.

Remember what I told you all that way back…Watching Drabek in person might be one of the most fun things you will ever do ever. EVER!

By any chance do you have an extra ticket? Want to bring your boy Spanny?

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

hahah cant blame a guy for asking. but unfortunately i don’t. I actually got the tickets from a friend who works in the head office, should be fun times. Hopefully Drabek comes through for me!

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

hahah cant blame a guy for asking. but unfortunately i don’t. I actually got the tickets from a friend who works in the head office, should be fun times. Hopefully Drabek comes through for me!

HerbertAnchovy
4 years 11 months ago

I’ll also be at that game and am really looking forward to watching Drabek pitch after following his progress this year. Also, Felix Hernandez is pitching Thursday for The Mariners which will be good to see as well.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Haha yeah. But have a great time man. You definetly will! Gosh he really is so much fun to watch pitch in person. Your a lucky lucky guy 45!

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Haha yeah. But have a great time man. You definetly will! Gosh he really is so much fun to watch pitch in person. Your a lucky lucky guy 45!

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

the leafs? seriously, i hate what burke has done to this team. 6 million for a defensive defensman who starts a fight with a 4th line grinder in practice. Can’t wait for someone to knock him out again..

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

the leafs? seriously, i hate what burke has done to this team. 6 million for a defensive defensman who starts a fight with a 4th line grinder in practice. Can’t wait for someone to knock him out again..

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

it won’t matter regardless, i’m a champion heckler, the mariners don’t stand a chance.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

it won’t matter regardless, i’m a champion heckler, the mariners don’t stand a chance.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

That’s why I love Jays fan…faithful, scary, drunk, and devoted!

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

That’s why I love Jays fan…faithful, scary, drunk, and devoted!

Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

I’m telling you, one of the most fun pitchtys to watch. Every time I’ve seen him this summer he does something different and awesome. Have a great time man I know you will. And did you say you were going to send me my. Ticket in the mail or in person?