Last season, the Washington Nationals finally overcame the Philadelphia Phillies to win their first NL East title in franchise history since making the move from Montreal, mainly because they contained one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. With the regular season set to begin in just a few months, the Nationals may be even stronger in the pitching department after the signing of Rafael Soriano from the New York Yankees.
It’s not every day a player is willing to opt out of a hefty contract to leave the Yankees and play for another team, but that was exactly the case for Soriano after he opted out of the final year of his three-year contract ($1.5 million buyout) so he could sign with the Nationals. Soriano’s deal with Washington consists of two years for $28 million with the possibility of a third year, so the buyout doesn’t seem so bad for the relief pitcher after all.
With Mariano Rivera missing most of the 2012 season, Soriano was quite the nice fill in for the Yankees, recording 42 saves, and should make an immediate impact closing games for the defending NL East champions. Now that they have a year of playoff experience under their belt, the Nationals should come back even stronger in 2013, and will be seen as World Series contenders in the National League.
And with a pitcher like Soriano officially on board–the Nationals become even more dangerous for the 2013 season as they look for their second-straight division title.
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