Dan Duquette has been pretty up front about the idea that the team wants to add another pitcher to the bullpen. There are not a lot of guys left out there but one that is potentially intriguing is Rafael Soriano.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Soriano has been the closer of the Nationals for the last two seasons, after spending a year as the closer in NY. Unfortunately for him, no one is handing over a closers job to him at this point and no one is handing him a big contract either. However, someone should probably be handing him a one-year deal if it’s on the cheap. The question is, should that team be the Orioles?
For much of his career, Soriano has been a good reliever and one that has tended to outperform his FIP and xFIP. His career K rate is 9. He saw it drop below 7 in 2013 but it jumped back up in 2014. His rate jumped almost 2 Ks in the matter of a season. From 2010-2012, Soriano pitched in the AL East. 1 year in Tampa and 2 years in NY. In those seasons, his K rate was in the 8-9 ranges and his walk rate was all over the place. In Tampa, he had a 2 BB rate but it was in the 3-4 ranges in NY. Outside of 2013, Soriano has done a very good job of missing bats, including missing 21.3% in 2014, which is barely under the best of his career. The BB rate can get high but he does throw a lot of strikes, usually putting himself in the 66% area the last several years, again, with 2013 being the exception.
Soriano has also been able to throw 60+ innings the last 3 seasons as well. He is 36 and has had some injury issues in the past but, for right now, he seems to be ok with that.
The one red flag I see with him is the idea that he is a FB pitcher and while his HR rate hasn’t been that bad in the past, he also pitched in more pitcher friendly HR parks than OPACY is. Also, his velocity has dropped off. Through the 2012 season, his average velocity was usually in the 92-93 ranges. The last 2 years it is just over 91%.
But still, when I look at his stats, I don’t see anything that is overly alarming and while he may not be a dominant reliever, there is a good chance he will be productive. With how O’Day ended the year and with the inevitable drop off of Britton (I think he drops off but how much?), adding in another arm at the back end of the pen isn’t a bad idea. While I wouldn’t have wanted him to sign for multiple years at 5+M a year (like KRod’s deal for example), I am all for signing him to a 1 year deal for 4M or less, which is about all I think he could get right now, at least in terms of guaranteed dollars. He may be able to get some incentives in the deal to up his salary but in terms of one year deals, I think that is about as good as it gets.
So, do you think the Orioles should sign Soriano and if so, how much money would you be willing to pay him?
Rob has interviewed guests from outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, Baseball Prospectus, Athlon, Sporting News, MLB Network, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Info Solutions, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Sports on Earth, Grantland, NFL Network, FanGraphs, Football Outsiders, ProFootballFocus, etc. etc. The Baltimore native lives in Perry Hall with his Wife Lindsay, and two young sons. He has appeared as a guest on 105.7 The Fan, Q1370, and WNST 1570. Co-Host of The Warehouse: https://anchor.fm/the-warehouse Co-Host of Sports Tonight: https://anchor.fm/sports-tonight