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The Worth of Rafael Soriano

In his morning blog post, Buster Olney's ponders what type of contract Rafael Soriano will receive next season. Most realistic Rays fans concede that Soriano will not be back in Tampa Bay. Paying ~$7million for a closer is not something this organization can do, well, not again that is. Special circumstances brought Soriano to the Rays in 2010, and those will not be repeated. For as good as he has been, giving long-term deals to closers, especially ones with an injury history, is a risky proposition. Buster goes on:

In short, he is a dominant closer in the middle of his career. Would it be worthwhile for a team to invest a long-term deal in Soriano?



The recent history of big-money contracts for relievers will lend pause to teams that might be interested, from B.J. Ryan, who basically gave the Jays 2½ seasons for a five-year, $47 million investment; Billy Wagner, who missed a full year in the midst of his four-year, $43 million deal with the Mets; and Francisco Rodriguez, whose three-year, $37 million deal is going to be viewed as a bust for a lot of reasons. Mariano Rivera has been excellent throughout his current three-year, $45 million deal, but presumably, no team will use that as a barometer because Mariano Rivera is, well, Mariano Rivera.

The comparison to B.J. Ryan isn't quite fair, as he had one of the more violent deliveries in the game that had "injury waiting to happen" written all over it. The injury history with Soriano will be a legitimate road block for some teams. Soriano also doesn't have the best reputation when he has multiple years on his contract. It's been said that a team is better off signing him to a series of one year deals so he cannot slack off, forcing him to prove himself each season.

Another road block, as Buster also notes, is the amount of teams out there willing to spend that much money on a closer. Big spending teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, Mets, etc either already have closers or are unable to spend the money it will take to sign Soriano, especially now that he's represented by Scott Boras. The man we affectionately call MFIKY will be suiting up in another city next season. As of right now, it's impossible to determine where.