rafael soriano yankeesIn a bit of a surprise, the Washington Nationals today reportedly agreed to sign closer Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract, with a vesting option for 2015 ($14 million), which vests if he finishes 120 games between 2013 and 2014. Soriano’s market was never crystal clear, but a team with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, among other talented back-end options in the bullpen, now has an embarrassment of riches.

Do the Nationals now make one of those young arms available? Obviously there’s a demand on the market for back-end relievers – there always is – and Storen or Clippard could net a quality return. While Carlos Marmol, should the Cubs look to move him, may have seen an uptick in his market with Soriano going to a team to which Marmol was never going to be connected … that uptick might just be swallowed up the Nationals’ flexibility to move an arm now.

The price for Soriano is interesting, as he is the most recent free agent tied to draft pick compensation to sign. His price tag – $28 million over two years, plus an option for $14 million in 2014 – doesn’t seem overly dragged down by the loss of a draft pick, but it is lower than Jon Heyman and his “expert” predicted back at the outset of the offseason (which has been true for virtually every free agent tied to compensation, save for B.J. Upton). They saw Soriano getting $39 million over three years, so he gets a higher AAV, but a lower overall commitment. (For some extremely suspect math, he got 72% of his original projection. If Michael Bourn got 72% of his original projection, he’d land at about $49 million guaranteed over about three or four years. You can pretty much ignore this parenthetical.)

All in all, not a bad get for Soriano, though. $14 million per year is an extremely healthy rate, even for a top notch closer. Indeed, it makes him the highest paid closer in the game right now.

In order to sign Soriano, the Nationals will lose their first round pick – number 29 – and the Yankees will pick up a compensatory draft pick after the first round. Thus, the impact of this signing, for Draft purposes, is neutral to the Cubs, with respect to their second round pick spot.

UPDATE: Jim Bowden reports that Soriano’s deal includes huuuuuuge deferrals of money. He gets just $7 million in 2013, and $7 million in 2014. The remaining $14 million is paid out starting in 2018(!) That level of deferral drops the average annual value of the deal to approximately $11.8 million per year, rather than $14 million. So, the price on Soriano now looks a lot lower than it did when the first reports of the deal were announced.

  • CubFan Paul

    with Rafael Soriano out of the way I still think Marmol will be moved soon. He’s among the best of the available options (free agents)

  • MichiganGoat

    If they don’t move anybody they will have the best rotation and bullpen on paper.

    • hansman1982

      To go along with a pretty decent offense. Best team in the NL, hands down. (I would take them over the Dodgers every day of the week for 2013 and the next 10 years (if I had to sit through another 2-3 years of suck so the 2016 Cubs were as good as the 2013 Nationals, bring.it.on))

      • J. Edwards

        2-3 years of suck? Yeesh. I enjoy life too much to sit through that. I would like to see improvement from now through 2014, and I think that’s realistic.

        No way Team Epstein blows a 5-year contract (his and Jed’s) to rebuild a franchise. I bet they eye having a playoff contender in year three (2014).

        I’m praying for a 2013 team of overachievers.

  • wiscubfan

    Looks like Marmol’s value increased

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Isn’t Mariano R making $20m a year?

    • North Side Irish

      No…he made $15M last season, but he’s signed for $10M in 2013.

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        Ahh thanks

  • Bwa

    Hey Brett, my computer has been having a really hard Time loading BN lately. Any idea what the cause might be? I have a Mac

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I think there’s an issue with some of the ad scripts. When it’s sitting there, struggling to load, does it say it’s waiting on a particular page/script in the bottom left? If so, are you able to see what the script address is (even just the first bit of the address would help). Sorry for the troubles.

      Also, when you say lately, is it approximately the last two/ three days?

      • Bwa

        Yup about the last two or three days sounds right. I can’t really see anything wih the ad, I just get the spinning wheel of death any time I try to scroll.

  • Nate Corbitt

    Weren’t the Tigers looking at R. Soriano? I would think this would make a Marmol trade with them more likely. What’s the possibility of Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, and cash for Porcello and Castellanos trade happening?

  • daveyrosello

    The Nats are a really really good team. Bully for them after the years of ineptitude. The only real weakness I see over there is the last starter. They’d be unstoppable with Matt Garza in that rotation. So I’ll continue to bang the Anthony Rendon drum, just because.

    • MikeW

      their “last starter” is either Haren or Detwiler. Haren they just signed and Detwiler had a 3.40 ERA with a 1.2 WHIP last year and is making just over the minimum. Hard to figure out where Garza would fit, much less be someone they’d be willing to give up Rendon for.

    • terencem

      I don’t see how Rizzo has much to do except sit back and enjoy the ride for the next several seasons.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    The Nats forfeit the No. 31 overall pick.

    In the history of the draft, only two No. 31 overall picks have gone on to at least five career bWAR. One of them exceeded that by quite a bit.

    100 Internet Points to anyone who can name the best No. 31 overall pick of all time without looking it up.

  • DarthHater

    Greg Maddux

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      100 Internet Points to you, to be awarded upon the filing of a signed affidavit promising you didn’t cheat and look it up. Brett can handle the legal details.

      Also of note: He was pretty much the last Cubs 2nd round pick to be worth anything.

      • DarthHater

        What can I do with 100 Internet Points?

        • Cizzle

          Don’t know what you can do with them, but they’re roughly equivalent to 1 Million Stanley Nickles

  • Rob

    Brett – unrelated to the post, but are you doing anything at the Cubs Convention to advertise the site? Besides the bar-hopping, but something to draw attention to it?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing particular, no – just being there. I don’t have a booth or anything, primarily because it’s just me, and I can’t experience the convention if I’m sitting a booth all day.

      • DarthHater

        You could ask the Mrs. to handle the booth. She’d generate a lot more traffic than you would, anyway. 😉

      • hansman1982

        Besides the mandatory dress code of BN shirts, BN banana hammocks and jorts for any members of the community who wish to approach Brett during the convention.

        • Carne Harris

          BNana hammock. Also make sure to approach him at a full sprint, screaming.

      • MichiganGoat

        A goat is always good to have at a booth… Just saying 😉

  • Mick

    Soriano is a BEAST, good for the Nats. I can’t believe the Tigers or Dodgers didn’t go after him. He’s arguably the best closer in baseball right now. His demeanor, strength, mechanics and simple delivery make for a perfect closer. If the Cubs were just a bit closer to contention I would’ve been barking more about signing him.

  • Fastball

    If we want to have a good BP then maybe getting rid of Marmol isn’t the best idea. We will have to go sign another one just about like him next year anyway. I don’t believe the Nat’s are going to trade any of their young BP arms just because they signed Soriano. This is becoming a game of who can load up the most in the major market teams. DC is a major market IMO. They have a big draw now and they have plenty of money.

  • Spencer

    whoa, just saw the update on this. I’m sort of surprised that MLBPA allows a contract like this. that’s real weird stuff.

  • JOHN

    Reminds me of the Bonilla deal.