Is Joakim Soria an Option for the New York Yankees If Mariano Rivera Retires?

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIOctober 27, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 28: Catcher Brayan Pena #27 celebrates with closing pitcher Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals after they defeated the Cleveland Indians 2-1 at Progressive Field on August 28, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The New York Yankees have questions at closer this offseason for the first time since Mariano Rivera's incredible tenure at the position began in 1997.

Rivera is contemplating retirement after tearing his ACL last season, and Rafael Soriano is expected to opt out of the third year of his contract to explore free agency.

Soriano had a stellar season filling in for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He saved 42 games and pitched to a 2.26 ERA.

After having issues as the setup man in his first season with the Yankees, Soriano really stepped up his performance when Rivera went down.

Should Soriano opt out, the Yankees will be on the lookout for a new closer.

David Robertson and Mark Montgomery are possible options for the job. Robertson had a tough time in limited appearances in the closer's role this season, but he has the experience pitching late in games.

Many feel as if Montgomery is the closer of the future in New York, but he's yet to pitch a single inning in the majors. If we see him at all in the upcoming season, it'll probably be in a seventh-inning role.

One option that could be attractive to general manager Brian Cashman is Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria.

Soria did not pitch at all last season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery after injuring himself in a March 18 spring game.

Greg Holland pitched well for the Royals in the ninth-inning role, so Soria could very well be available this offseason.

The Royals are not expected to pick up his $8 million club option for 2013 (via Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star). Instead, they are expected to exercise their $750,000 opt out clause.

Dutton claims that both sides are interested in working out a new deal, but the Yankees could very well jump into the mix and try to pry him away.

Prior to his down season in 2011, Soria thrived in the closer's role from 2008 to 2010. During that time, he compiled 115 saves and a 1.86 ERA.

Even though he's now undergone two Tommy John surgeries, he could still be a very useful option late in games.

Should Rivera go through with his retirement and should Soriano actually opt out of his deal, going after Soria may not be such a bad decision. An incentive-laden deal would be fair for the closer.