Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano has decided to opt out of the final year of his three-year deal that he signed with the New York Yankees in the off-season prior to the 2011 season.
Soriano signed the three-year, $35 million deal with the Yankees following a 45 save season while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 and knowing that the Yankees already had a closer on their roster in Mariano Rivera. In 2011 Soriano struggled in his new role as Rivera’s setup man obtaining a 4.12 ERA with just 23 holds and three blown saves. This past season Soriano received the opportunity to close for the Yankees after Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee in early May. During his time as the Yankees closer Soriano saved 42 games in 45 opportunities while maintaining a 2.26 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
Soriano’s decision to opt out of the final year of his contract will save the Yankees $14 million in salary and will also make Soriano a free agent who will probably command a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of four or five years between the range of $50-$60 million.
The Yankees may try to re-sign Soriano based on whether on not Rivera decides to return next season, if the Yanks miss out on both players then they have some work to do in figuring out who is going to close games for them. That is a major problem that New York hasn’t had in almost two decades. A few possible candidates who the Yankees have on the roster are Joba Chamberlain (the one time heir-apparent to Rivera) and David Robertson who served as Soriano’s set up man this past season.