MLB Free Agent Rumors: 10 Possible Destinations For Rafael Soriano
With news that the Angels have signed free agent reliever Scott Downs, the Angels have been removed from the amazing Rafael Soriano race.
Now that the front-runners have ran off the track, which bullpen will the veteran closer join for the 2011 MLB season?
Here are 10 possible destinations for the rejuvenated Soriano.
10. New York Mets
New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez is considered one of the greatest closers of this generation, but the Mets tried hard to get rid of him during last year's season due to his idiotic behavior off the diamond.
If the Mets feel that Rodriguez is no longer worth the trouble, they have the money to cut ties with K-Rod and go after Soriano.
9. Florida Marlins
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Marlins closer Leo Nunez had his highs and lows in 2010. The young flamethrower led all of baseball in blown saves and his ERA was higher than Florida would've liked it to be.
The only question is if the small-market franchise can afford a superstar like Soriano.
8. Cleveland Indians
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The Cleveland Indians really don't have a closer. Chris Perez did a nice job holding down the fort in 2010, but he is better suited to play a setup role in the bullpen.
Soriano and Perez would make a nice one-two punch in the Cleveland bullpen, but the Indians are nowhere near contending for a championship and it is not likely that Soriano decides to pack his bags and pitch for a losing franchise.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers
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In 2010, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was just about as stable as the McCourt's marriage.
Broxton's ERA ballooned above 4.00 and he only managed to save 22 games. Dodgers fans would love to see Soriano move to LA and save this horrid bullpen and the Dodgers certainly have the finances and the reputation to pull it off.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
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This picture of this awkward hug between Carlo Gomez, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart tells the story of the Milwaukee Brewers 2010 season.
Is John Axford the closer of the future in Milwaukee? He shouldn't be. Axford makes a nice setup man, but he is not the dominant closer that Soriano is.
With the addition of Shaun Marcum and the offensive core of the team still in tact, the Brewers may be in contention for the wild card next year. Soriano would have to at least consider an offer from Milwaukee.
5. Washington Nationals
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You have to love the Washington Nationals.
This team has been in last place since the beginning of time, but they have a billionaire owner that is willing to spend any amount of money just to fill the seats of the stadium and establish a fan base.
In 2010, the Nats traded away All-Star Matt Capps to Minnesota and the Nationals switched to a closer-by-committee approach with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Both struggled with the closing duties.
Washington has the guts and the money to make Soriano a huge offer, but the only question is if he is willing to join a rebuilding team.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
Do you recognize the pitcher above?
Neither do I.
His name is Jason Frasor and he could very well be the closer for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. That's because Toronto lost both Scott Downs and former closer Kevin Gregg to free agency and Frasor is basically the last man standing.
Soriano knows what life is like in the AL East and it is understandable if he wants to escape the dog-eat-dog division, but the Blue Jays have the talent to contend and the money to make Soriano an offer he can't refuse.
3. Chicago White Sox
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No matter how much Ozzie Guillen begs him to, Bobby Jenks will probably not return to the White Sox in 2011 and that leaves a gaping hole in the back of South side's bullpen.
If Chicago offers enough cash to Soriano, the decision should be a no-brainer for the veteran closer. The White Sox' two huge additions with the re-signing of Paul Konerko and the signing of slugger Adam Dunn immediately made them playoff contenders and an optimal destination for more free agents.
2. Boston Red Sox
It's an understatement to say that Jonathan Papelbon had an off year in 2010.
In 2010, the former future of the Red Sox led the league in blown saves and had one of the worst ERAs of any closer in baseball. Now, his beloved fans are blaming him for Boston's lost season and he is considered nothing more than a trading chip.
If Boston has any money left in their pocket, they will make a strong push for Soriano in hopes that they can trade Paps and make one more step towards baseball's first perfect team.
1. Atlanta Braves
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Did the fact that I'm the Atlanta Braves Featured Columnist give it away?
Okay, all bias and job titles aside, Soriano would be a perfect fit for his former team.
The Braves just lost future Hall of Fame member Billy Wagner to fishing, golf and rocking chairs, and now all of the pressure of the closing duties rests on young Craig Kimbrel's shoulders.
Kimbrel was phenomenal in the postseason for the Braves, but giving him the everyday closing job is a huge gamble. Soriano is comfortable with Atlanta and it's players and now that the Braves are becoming an elite MLB team, joining his former squad would be the optimal situation for both sides.