MLB Free Agency 2013: Rafael Soriano, Nationals Agree to 2-Year, $28M Deal

Doug RushSenior Analyst IJanuary 18, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Rafael Soriano #29 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 13, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The market for Rafael Soriano was a very slow one this winter.

After opting out of his contract to become a free agent again, teams weren't jumping at the chance to lock up the closer, despite a strong 2012 campaign.

On Tuesday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. the Washington Nationals have signed the former Yankees closer to a two-year deal.

 

Source: Rafael Soriano agrees to two-year, $28M deal with Nationals. Deal contains vesting option for third year. Story coming on Y! Sports.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2013

 

 

The deal has a vesting option for 2015 worth $14 million, so the deal could be as much as $42 million over three years.

Soriano took over for Mariano Rivera in May and was excellent in his role, posting a 2.26 ERA with 42 saves.

When Soriano originally signed his three-year, $35 million deal with the Yankees back in January of 2010, his deal included two opt-out clauses after the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Some felt the market for Soriano would be a stronger one, however, teams didn't want to surrender a draft pick in order to get Soriano, which is now what the Yankees will receive as compensation for his departure.

The Yankees made a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to Soriano, which was immediately rejected because he felt he could get a multi-year deal in free agency.

The Nationals used former Yankee prospect Tyler Clippard as their closer in 2012, as he converted 32 saves for Washington.

Davey Johnson could either move Clippard to the setup role, or Nationals GM Mike Rizzo could look to trade Clippard or former closer Drew Storen for prospects.

It's a solid move for the National League East Champions, who have now added an established closer 

As for the Yankees, losing Soriano isn't as tough of a blow because David Robertson is still the setup man, a role in which he has performed well in.

Also, if former Mariners closer David Aardsma pitches to the level he once was at before injuries, then Soriano's presence in the bullpen won't be missed.

The Yankees might have lost a quality arm in the bullpen, but saving $14 million on what would have gone to Soriano was a smart move for the team, especially if Aardsma and Robertson perform up to expectations.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.