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Soriano Securing Bridge to Mariano By: Lauren Pogulis

The Yankees officially introduced Rafael Soriano to pinstripes on Wednesday in hopes of providing their bullpen a much-needed boost. The Yanks have been the odd-man out this offseason, losing a couple key free agents to other teams, most notably Cliff Lee to the Phillies, and Carl Crawford to the Red Sox. By signing Soriano, the Yankees have likely secured a lights-out combination of Soriano in the 8th inning, and Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning.

Soriano signed a three year contract worth $35 million; however, he does have an opt-out clause after the 2011 and 2012 season, which gives him the opportunity to test the free agent market again if he is unhappy in New York. He will earn $10 million for the 2011 season, with an additional $1.5 million if he opts out; $11 million in the second year, with an opt-out payment of $1.5 million; and $14 million for the 2013 season.

Soriano has been great throughout his career, and had a stellar year in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays as their closer. He converted 45 out of 48 save opportunities, good for a 94% success rate. He also posted a 1.73 ERA, while striking out 57 batters in 62 1/3 innings last year. It seems evident that he will be a terrific addition to the Yankee bullpen.

Many reporters and fans wondered if the Yankees would be able to acquire Soriano because of the fact that he would not be a closer with the Yankees. However, Soriano answered these questions in his press conference, by saying, through a translator, “I know people will find this strange, but I'm very happy to be close to one of the greatest closers in Mariano Rivera. Hopefully in the future I will, after being a setup man, be the closer, too.” He brings up a valid point, in that he could be Rivera’s successor as closer of the New York Yankees. Mariano signed a two year contract earlier this offseason, whereas Soriano, if he decides to not opt-out of his contract, signed a three year deal with the Yanks, leaving Soriano as the likely potential recipient of the closer role when Rivera’s contract expires after the 2012 season.

This particular signing by the Yankees is probably their best one thus far this winter. The Red Sox have an extremely formidable lineup and starting rotation, and by the Yankees signing Soriano, it seems as though opponents will be facing a 6-7 inning game with Soriano and Rivera closing out games.

The Yankees, although they didn’t make their usual splash in the free agent pool, look to be putting together an impressive team anyway. Look for the Yanks to continue putting the pieces together, as they are extremely optimistic about the upcoming season.

Follow me on twitter @Laurpogulis


  1. Soriano seems like a standup guy and is a good signing for sure but lets not delude ourselves it doesn't even enter the same zip code of signing Crawford, the Sox beat us this off-season and now we need to show they won't during the actual season.

  2. Aj burnett needs to be sent to the minors for some time to work on mechanics. I know its hard to accept because he is compensated so well it has to be done.