Rafael Soriano reportedly closes two-year, $28M deal with Nationals

Rafael Soriano celebrates after the final out of

Rafael Soriano celebrates after the final out of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 1, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

With the offseason nearing the homestretch, and with his immediate future still hanging in the balance, former Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano reportedly got the payday he had hoped to receive.

The Nationals signed Soriano to a two-year, $28-million deal, with an option for a third year that vests if he finishes 120 games during his two guaranteed seasons. The deal would be worth $42 million over three years if he activates the option. The signing, as reported Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports, officially ends Soriano's two-year stint with the Yankees.

With Mariano Rivera out for most of last season with a knee injury, Soriano racked up 42 saves and posted a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances, positioning himself for a long-term deal.

As is customary with clients of agent Scott Boras, Soriano turned to the free-agent market for a raise, opting out of the final season of a three-year contract that would have paid $14 million this season. The 33-year-old righthander also rejected a one-year, $13.3-million qualifying offer, a move that required the team that signed him to forfeit a draft pick.

Even with a closer, Drew Storen, already on the roster, the Nationals again worked with Boras to add talent. Boras also represents phenoms Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and outfielder Jayson Werth.

As compensation, the Yankees will receive a supplemental-round selection, just as they did when the Indians signed outfielder Nick Swisher. They will have three picks bunched together at the end of the first round, their original 27th overall pick along with the 31st and 32nd selections as compensation.

The latter two selections may even move up depending on where free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Kyle Lohse sign.

Soriano posted a 2.78 ERA with 132 saves in 11 seasons with the Mariners, Braves, Rays and Yankees, who never appeared likely to retain him. Those chances became even more remote when the Yankees signed Rivera to a one-year, $10-million contract.

 

Ichiro feeling fresh

Ichiro Suzuki told reporters in Japan that signing with the Yankees has "given me a new sense of determination."

Ichiro, 39, signed a two-year, $13-million deal last month to remain with the Yankees after he flourished last season following a midseason trade from the Mariners.

His signing came as somewhat of a surprise, given the Yankees' intention to avoid multiyear deals and the outfielder's age. But in a statement announcing the signing, he bristled at doubts regarding age, a stance he adopted again yesterday.

"It's annoying to be asked about age," Ichiro said after a workout in Kobe.

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