Rafael Soriano: Top Destinations for the Dominant Righty

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 14, 2013

Rafael Soriano delivering a pitch.
Rafael Soriano delivering a pitch.Elsa/Getty Images

Rafael Soriano was one of the best closers in baseball last year, but due to the fact that signing him would require giving up a draft pick, teams have not shown a lot of interest in him. Still, he's too good to go unsigned, so where are the top destinations for the dominant righty?

Many teams have expressed that they are not interested, but there are a few teams who still might be. Read on to find out more. 


Colorado Rockies

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Rockies could be a last resort for Soriano:

The Rockies only could sign the free-agent closer if his market crashed and he was willing to accept say, a two-year, $16 million deal. The team would lose a second-round pick for signing Soriano; its first rounder is protected.

Well, the market has crashed and Soriano is really running out of options. Accepting a two-year, $16 million deal would be smart on the part of Soriano, because he may not get a better one. 

Rafael Betancourt was good as the closer last season, posting 31 saves and a 2.81 ERA. But he's 37 and Soriano was dominant in the AL East last year.

It makes sense for both sides and may be the best fit for Soriano. 


Washington Nationals

The Nationals have Drew Storen at closer and Tyler Clippard as the setup man. It would seem crazy to add Soriano.

But that's exactly what Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is suggesting. 

Kilgore says that it's not necessary, but it certainly couldn't hurt:

The Nationals don’t need to replace Storen, who was great down the stretch until the final game. But they could augment him. Remember last year, when the Nationals signed Brad Lidge to swing between closing and setting up to take pressure off Clippard and Storen? Soriano would be like a Super Brad Lidge. He’d also be about a dozen times more expensive, but we’ll get to that.

Last year, scouts believed the back of the Nationals’ bullpen wore down significantly in September. Soriano, who has averaged 56 games the past seven seasons, would give them enough depth to prevent that this season. So he’s not a lefty. They could still execute one of the smartest moves in any sport – strengthening a strength.

The Nationals clearly rank in the top third of the league, if not the top five, with their rotation, infield and outfield. By adding Soriano, they would make their bullpen every bit as good, on paper, as the rest of their team. The bullpen is good, potentially very good, as it is. It could be excellent with Soriano.

The Nats could contend for a title and adding a player of Soriano's caliber would certainly help that. It's not necessary, but doing anything to enhance their World Series chances is a smart move. 


New York Yankees

The Yankees have seemingly made it clear that they do not want Soriano back. As ESPN's Buster Olney reported:

The Yankees want the draft pick/draft dollars they'll get when Soriano signs elsewhere more than they want him back, no matter the contract.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 7, 2013

Despite that, Bob Klapisch reports that agent Scott Boras did meet with the Yankees about a possible deal:

Told Scott Boras asked #Yankees last month if they'd consider taking Rafael Soriano back on a 1-yr deal. Request flatly denied.

— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) January 7, 2013

While the Yankees did say no, Soriano was dominant for the team last year and Mariano Rivera is still a bit of question mark coming off injury. They would not have to give up a draft pick to sign him and since the market is kind of thin, they could get him at a discount.

That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, especially since he pitched to the tune of a 2.26 ERA. 


Final Word

The increased importance of draft picks has made it tough for Soriano, but he's so good and should find a home somewhat soon. The Rockies make the most sense and that could be what happens in the coming weeks. But Soriano may not find a home until right before training camp. Whatever team does get him, however, will be quite happy.