It’s possible to group players in any number of ways -- age, position and contract status to name a few. Like every player, Rafael Soriano falls into a number of categories. In the past month or so, he has often been grouped along with Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse, since all three Scott Boras clients declined qualifying offers earlier in the winter. They're now the only three free agents linked to draft pick compensation.
While that’s a useful way of viewing Soriano, looking at him through another prism provides additional context. At a basic level, he’s a right-handed reliever. And, as MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker shows, there’s an abundance of right-handed relief available in free agency, even as Spring Training draws closer. Admittedly Soriano just had a tremendous season, and he’s the top reliever available. Boras will surely remind general managers and owners of those facts in the coming weeks.
That said, the market for right-handed relievers doesn’t seem robust at this stage in the winter. There are lots of options out there and, seemingly, few teams looking to spend aggressively on them. That dynamic impacts everyone, Soriano included. Here’s a look at the latest rumors surrounding some of the second-tier right-handed relievers available. I’ve added the latest rumors when possible, though some of these players have had a quiet few months...
- Jose Valverde - There’s been little reported interest in Valverde, who won’t be back in Detroit. His playoff struggles appear to have compromised his leverage.
- Brian Wilson - Many teams have expressed interest in Wilson. He’s now rehabbing and is closer to throwing off a mound.
- Kyle Farnsworth - It’s been a quiet offseason for Farnsworth rumors, but he has been linked to the Rays and Brewers.
- Francisco Rodriguez - There’s been no reported interest in the free agent reliever this offseason.
- Jon Rauch - Only the Brewers have been linked to Rauch this winter.
- Brandon Lyon - There’s been no reported interest in the Meister Sports Management client.
- Matt Capps - The Twins declined a 2013 option for Capps, and since then it’s been quiet.
- Chad Durbin - The 35-year-old has drawn interest from teams including the Braves this offseason.
- Mark Lowe - The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays inquired on Lowe, who’s younger than most free agents at 29 years old.
While some or all of these players could be drawing interest that hasn’t been reported, the market seems quiet. In this context, ACES, the agency that brought Brandon League and the Dodgers together early in the offseason, has additional reason to be quite pleased with its three-year, $22.5MM deal.