Rafael Soriano Rumors

Free Agent Notes: Rafael Soriano, Thome, Lannan

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed suitors for Zack Greinke and the developing infield market on the latest Rosters and Rumblings podcast. Click here to listen in.  Read on for some free agent notes…

  • Agent Scott Boras seemingly took shots at Boston's Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli signings in his explanation of closer Rafael Soriano's demands, telling reporters including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, "We're seeing mid-level players make $13 million a year.  The value of a closer, you would have to argue, has historically been more valuable than what you see in mid-level players."  Apparently in reference to Tigers' plan to use Bruce Rondon, Boras said, "You can count on one hand the number of closers under the age of 23 that have ever gone to the big leagues and put together 30 saves, let alone pitch in the postseason and be effective."  It has actually only happened twice, with Neftali Feliz in 2010 and Huston Street in 2006.  If we include age-23 seasons, seven more stoppers join the list and Feliz appears again.
  • Jim Thome remains undecided on whether to play in 2013, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
  • 11 teams have expressed interest in free agent lefty John Lannan for potential Major League jobs, hears Amanda Comak of the Washington Times.  The 28-year-old has drawn interest from the Mets, Twins, and Pirates, based on previous reports.

Tigers Notes: Soriano, Outfield Bat

The Tigers have been linked to Anibal Sanchez and Scott Hairston, among others, since the 2012 Winter Meetings got underway. Here's the latest on a couple other Tigers-related topics:

  • A Tigers official tells Peter Gammons of MLB Network that Rafael Soriano "ain't happening with us" (Twitter link). Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested yesterday that despite Detroit's apparent lack of interest in Soriano, the club shouldn't be ruled out entirely, given Mike Ilitch's relationship with Scott Boras.
  • The Tigers need a right-handed bat in the outfield, but one agent who spoke to the team thinks Detroit may elect to fill that hole with a non-roster invite, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com. That would leave the door open for 21-year-old Avisail Garcia.

Bowden On Hamilton, Morse, Soriano, Chapman

In advance of his show this afternoon on SiriusXM, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM has been tweeting out a number of interesting tidbits from Nashville's Winter Meetings. Here are a few of the highlights from the former MLB GM (all links go to Twitter):

  • Bowden views the Rangers and Red Sox as the frontrunners for Josh Hamilton, with the Yankees as a dark horse. He doesn't believe Hamilton would sign with the Mariners even if Seattle made the best offer.
  • The Orioles, Mariners, and Rays could all approach the Nationals about trading bullpen help for Mike Morse if the Nats end up re-signing Adam LaRoche.
  • Don't eliminate the Dodgers as a possible landing spot for Rafael Soriano, despite their multiyear commitment to Brandon League.
  • After speaking with Reds manager Dusty Baker, Bowden believes Aroldis Chapman may be closing again in 2013 if it's Baker's call, which would affect Cincinnati's offseason plans. Of course, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes (on Twitter) that the decision isn't expected to be up to Baker.


Free Agent Rumors: Oswalt, Delmon, Sizemore, Ross, Ludwick

Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:

Earlier updates:


Quick Hits: Keppinger, Soriano, Dodgers, Orioles

The latest links from around MLB…

  • The Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rays are bidding for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger even though he broke his leg, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). The 32-year-old recently broke his right fibula, but hopes to be ready for action by mid-January. Clubs don’t consider the injury serious enough to stop pursuing Keppinger.
  • MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons said on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch spoke with agent Scott Boras about free agent closer Rafael Soriano yesterday (hat tip: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter).
  • The Dodgers confirmed the promotions of several front office members, including Logan White and De Jon Watson, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. White and Watson had been assistant GMs and are now vice presidents. They are both considered GM candidates within the industry.
  • The Orioles aren’t expected to offer Mark Reynolds arbitration, but they’re trying to work out a new deal by Friday’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently examined Reynolds as a non-tender candidate.
  • Jair Jurrjens is expected to be non-tendered and Peter Moylan’s status as a non-tender candidate remains unclear, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter).

Olney On Giants, Angels, Hamilton, Soriano

Buster Olney outlines the most pressing offseason needs for ten teams viewed as contenders in his latest column at ESPN.com. Here are more of Olney’s notes from around MLB…

  • Some GMs and agents say they sense that others are still waiting at this stage in the offseason. There’s a sense that asking prices could drop and opportunities could emerge a little later on.
  • The Giants aren’t sure they’re willing to commit to Angel Pagan for as many years as he’s seeking, Olney reports. But the Giants do believe they’ll find a way to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro.
  • Rival executives say the Angels have a thin farm system, Olney writes. This puts pressure on GM Jerry Dipoto to address his rotation through free agency, which gives Zack Greinke considerable leverage.
  • Some general managers believe the secondary starting pitching options are incredibly overpriced, Olney reports. MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker offers a complete list of the unsigned starting pitchers available in free agency.
  • Some executives say they’d be comfortable offering Josh Hamilton a three-year deal that includes protective language for the team. I expect Hamilton can do far better than a three-year deal.
  • The A’s seem like a possible fit for Asdrubal Cabrera, but they probably wouldn’t want to part with the kind of starting pitching the Indians would want in a trade for their shortstop.
  • Rival executives expect Scott Boras to try to engage the Tigers on Rafael Soriano, according to Olney. However, the Tigers have suggested they’d prefer to rely on internal options instead of spending big on a closer.
  • Some agents presume the Phillies will be particularly aggressive in addressing their center field need. Acquiring a center fielder remains the club's priority.
  • The Red Sox are open to signing Cody Ross, even after agreeing to terms with Jonny Gomes, according to Olney.

Sherman’s Latest: Soriano, Yankees, Moore, Rays, Bay

Of the nine players who received qualifying offers this offseason, Rafael Soriano is viewed within the game as having taken the biggest financial risk by declining according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post. Teams don't want to invest big in closers because of their volatility now more than ever, especially after year one of the Heath Bell contract. Here are the rest of Sherman's rumors…

  • The Yankees are privately pleased that Soriano opted out of his $14MM salary for next season. They'll allocate those dollars elsewhere and could use a portion of it on a reliever to replace Soriano.
  • The feeling at the GM Meetings was that the Rays are much more open to trading a starting pitcher for offense than they have been in the past. They would talk about James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, and even Matt Moore in the right deal.
  • In the wake of Jason Bay's departure from the Mets, Sherman points out that Tyler Colvin (.150 AVG in 2011) and Andruw Jones (.158 AVG in 2008) are two recent examples of outfielders who turned things around following dreadful seasons. Bay hit .158 this year.

Quick Hits: Giants, Affeldt, Hart, Tigers, Soriano

The 4pm CST deadline for players to accept qualifying offers has come and gone and none of the eight players in play opted to return to their respective clubs for a $13.3MM salary in 2013.  That means that Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Kyle Lohse will net their teams a compensatory pick if they sign elsewhere.  Here's the latest from around baseball..

  • The Giants are confident that they will be re-signing Jeremy Affeldt and the club believes that they will work out a three-year deal, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  GM Brian Sabean indicated yesterday that he is optimistic about being about to keep Affeldt, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro.
  • Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he has not approached Corey Hart's agent about an extension and doesn't have immediate plans to do so.  A report earlier today suggested that the Brewers and Hart were discussing a deal to keep him beyond 2013.  The first baseman/right fielder is set to earn $10MM next season.
  • The Tigers aren't interested in Soriano and plan to stay in-house to find their closer, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Right-hander Bruce Rondon, 21, will get a chance at the job.  

Rafael Soriano To Decline Yankees’ Qualifying Offer

Rafael Soriano will decline the Yankees' qualifying offer, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).  The move ensures that New York will receive a compensatory draft pick for Soriano should he sign elsewhere.  Soriano was one of nine players who received qualifying offers from their teams, and the nine have until tomorrow to accept or decline the one-year, $13.3MM offers.

It was no surprise that Soriano declined the offer, as the Scott Boras client already opted out of the final year of his Yankees contract last week, leaving $14MM on the table in search of a multiyear contract with a team that could guarantee him the full-time closer's job.

It's hard to see how the Yankees could necessarily bring back Soriano given his desire to close and the fact that Mariano Rivera has said he will return in 2013.  Rivera's health status is questionable after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL, though since Rivera will obviously have priority in closing games in New York, Soriano would find himself as a set-up man again unless Rivera were to suffer another injury.  There's also the possibility that the Yankees could re-sign Soriano to close and let Rivera go as a free agent, though that move would be hard to fathom given Rivera's legendary status with the team.


Soriano, Swisher, Kuroda Obtain Qualifying Offers

The Yankees extended qualifying offers to Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The players now have one week to accept or decline the offers.

Soriano and Swisher are expected to decline the offers, but Kuroda could accept — he has indicated he’d be content to sign a one-year deal. If he accepts he’d earn $13.3MM on a one-year deal in 2013. If he declines, he’ll be linked to draft pick compensation in free agency — his new team will have to surrender a top selection to sign him. 

The three Yankees figure prominently on MLBTR’s top 50 free agent list. Swisher ranks sixth, Kuroda ranks ninth and Soriano ranks 17th.