Scott Boras strongly hinted that Rafael Soriano will opt-out of his contract with the Yankees and become a free agent this offseason, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The agent said he still has to have further conversations with the team before finalizing plans, but the Yankees are unlikely to offer an extension.
“There is a strong chance that he would have tremendous value as a free agent,” said Boras. Sherman notes that big market clubs like the Angels, Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, Giants, and Tigers could all be in the market for a high-end closer this winter.
Soriano, 32, pitched to a 2.26 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 67 2/3 innings this season. After Mariano Rivera went down with a season-ending knee injury in mid-May, he stepped in at closer and went 42 for 46 in save chances. Soriano signed a three-year, $35MM contract with the Yankees prior to 2010 and has the right to opt-out of the final year. He would be walking away from a $14MM guarantee in favor of a potential multiyear contract.
Sherman says Soriano and Boras have until three days after the end of the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause, and the Yankees would likely make him a qualifying offer to ensure they receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. We first heard that Soriano was likely to opt-out last month, and team president Randy Levine indicated that they want to keep the reliever in New York.