After rejecting a one-year, $13.3 million offer from the Yankees in November, it has been nothing but crickets for Rafael Soriano this offseason. While the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays were rumored to potentially be bidders for his services, the overall price tag it would entail, as well as the forfeiture of a draft pick to sign him, have made Soriano a surprise name to still remain unsigned. As previously mentioned by Yankees 101, not having Soriano as part of the bridge to Mariano Rivera could make the Yankees a little weaker this season in the 8th inning, which leaves open an interesting question: Could a return of Soriano be in the Yankees cards?
According to Yankees writer Anthony Rieber of Newsday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has ruled out the notion of a return to pinstripes for Soriano,
“I cannot talk about players on the free–agent market, ” Cashman said. “But I am not looking for bullpen help, I can tell you that.”
It is not surprising to hear Cashman's sentiment regarding Soriano. In 2011, he was not interested in signing Soriano as he felt it wasn't appropriate to pay closer-type money to what was going to bet a set-up man to Rivera. Eventually, Yankees owners Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine would override Cashman and sign Soriano to a three-year, $35 million deal with an opt-out clause after the second year.
After closing out 42 games successfully in Rivera's stead last season, Soriano's second season as a Yankee, he took advantage of his opt-out clause to pursue a full-time opportunity at closer. Had he not taken advantage of his opt-out clause, Soriano would be in line to make $14 million this season as a Yankee.
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