How Different Would Washington Nationals Be If They Hadn’t Signed Rafael Soriano?
When the Washington Nationals signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year deal this offseason, nobody across the baseball spectrum saw the deal coming. Washington was perceived to have two closers in the bullpen in Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, either one being able to lock down the role for years to come. But after Storen’s meltdown in the infamous Game 5, Mike Rizzo saw it fit to bring in a more veteran closer.
Soriano is known for having a prickly personality and not being the best of teammates, which was seen earlier this season when Bryce Harper played a ball with more trepidation than normal after hitting the wall, quite literally, in Los Angeles, and Soriano stated his toddler could have made the catch Harper did not make.
His shortcomings aside, Soriano has been solid in an otherwise shaky season for Washington, saving 31 games in 37 chances, though he has shown somewhat of a disinterest in games without a save opportunity and has blown consecutive save opportunities, but has been solid more or less.
So, what would 2013 be like if Rizzo never signed Soriano?
With Storen’s poor season coming to a head with a demotion to the Minors, Clippard probably would have been the closer, which would have muddled up the rest of Washington’s bullpen. Washington has suffered injuries to guys like Ryan Mattheus, and with the inconsistencies of Craig Stammen, signing Soriano actually makes more sense in retrospect than it did at the time of the signing.
As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, but this is one signing Washington, at least this season, probably won’t regret making.