Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan was first with the news this afternoon that the Washington Nationals and free agent reliever Rafael Soriano had agreed on a 2-year/$28M dollar deal to bring the closer to the nation's capital:
Source: Rafael Soriano agrees to two-year, $28M deal with Nationals. Deal contains vesting option for third year. Story coming on Y! Sports.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2013
The option for a third year, as Mr. Passan later reported, is a $14M dollar option which, "... will vest with 120 games finished over the next two seasons." The Nationals decision to sign the 33-year-old right-hander who spent the last two years in New York, saving a combined 44 games for the Yankees, will cost the team its 1st Round pick in 2013. After a 2012 campaign which saw Soriano, an 11-year-veteran, post a 2.26 ERA, a 3.32 FIP, 3.19 BB/9 and 9.18 K/9 while saving 42 of those 44 games with NY closer Mariano Rivera sidelined, the Yankees made Soriano a qualifying offer, which means the Nationals will have to surrender their 1st Round pick (29th overall) and the bonus money available for that selection.
The signing give the Nationals three legitimate closer options, adding Soriano and his 132 career saves to the mix along with right-handers Tyler Clippard, who saved 32 games in 2012, and Drew Storen, who was sidelined last year following elbow surgery, but has already managed to amass 52 saves in three major league seasons since the Nationals drafted him with their second 1st Round pick in 2009.
According to a report on the signing by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, a person familiar with the negotiations with Soriano and his agent Scott Boras said Nats' owner Ted Lerner was, "... was heavily involved in bringing Soriano to Washington." The speculation has already begun as to what the deal means for the make-up of the Nationals' bullpen. Who will close? Are there more deals to come? Why would the Nationals give up a draft pick to sign a 33-year-old veteran reliever at $14M per? More info when it's available...