There was no hold out or contract dispute that kept Rafael Soriano from spring training. In the off-season, Soriano signed a two-year $28 million contract, but the good ole visa process kept Soriano from reaching his new team.
With the return of closer Mariano Rivera, Soriano didn’t want to be his set-up man and decided to pack his bags for the Washington Nationals. In his career this is the only time Soriano comes into Spring Training expecting that he will be the closer. The last time was in 2010 when he played for the Tampa Bay Rays. Soriano went on to save 45 games.
A year later he signed with the New York Yankees, and last year was the team’s closer when Rivera was injured.
Nationals fans, don’t worry about Soriano not being ready for Spring Training. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and long toss down in the Dominican Republic while waiting for his visa to join his fifth MLB club. His first official bullpen session with the Nationals will be on Monday.
Soriano is excited for the chance to be playing for the defending National East champions.
“To me, I was trying to find a team that needed help,” Soriano said. “I think I made a good decision with my (agent) to come here. Everybody’s young. (It’s) a good team.”
The reason Soriano is here is simple, and is similar to many professional athletes. He wants to win and be successful for the team he plays for.
“I want to win,” Soriano said. “That’s what I’m here for.”