We’ve already taken a closer look at Denard Span and Dan Haren, who panned out in entirely different ways. Now, let’s take a closer look at how the Rafael Soriano signing worked out for the Washington Nationals in 2013. At first glance, it worked out really well. After a closer look, you might think differently.
The Nationals signed Soriano in the offseason after he opted out of the third year of his contract with the New York Yankees. After the way Drew Storen collapsed in the playoffs in 2012, it was no wonder that general manager Mike Rizzo forked over $22 million over two years to pick up the closer. The position was lacking and signing Soriano certainly gave it an upgrade.
Statistically, Soriano had a solid season. As a closer, all you really care about is how many save opportunities did he convert and there were a number of them. On the season, Soriano collected a career-high 43 saves, but blew six saves, also a career-high.
As a fan watching Soriano make a save attempt, you likely pulled your hair out. It wasn’t all that uncommon for him to allow a base runner or two before finally making the final out or even the first out. Soriano was a hard-throwing pitcher that challenged hitters rather than played around with them. While sometimes it did work out in the end, when you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. There were times where Soriano got burned, badly.
However, he was certainly an upgrade from Drew Storen, who had another rough season and was even sent down to the minors. Soriano has another year left on his contract and it’s certainly one in which he’ll be pitching for his job. He pitched well and worked out in favor of the Nationals, but there were many times in which a game would be in question due to a rough outing on the mound. He’ll need to be a little more dominant and consistent to get a new contract.
Overall, this signing worked out well for the Nationals. They got a solid closer and upgraded at the position. Was he worth the $22 million over two years that they forked over for him? Not quite. However, Soriano was certainly worth the signing.