The Yankees president Randy Levine and Rafael Soriano‘s agent Scott Boras have entered into negotiations to bring back the de facto close that opted out of the final year of his contract this morning and so far things are not going smoothly.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees are under the impression that Soriano is looking for a deal worth $60 million over four years and Boras said he never put a total on the length of the contract. The disagreement seems to have stalled negotiations as the Yankees would prefer to keep Soriano on just a two-year pact.
“I’m not surprised,” Levine told Heyman about Soriano opting out. “We really like Raffy. But Scott Boras told the player he could get $60 million for four years. Let’s see if he can do that. That would make it understandable why he would opt out. I wish Sori well.”
Boras doesn’t see it that way.
“Randy and I had a discussion,” Boras explained to Heyman. “He requested us to make an offer. At this time, we thought it best to file before making any proposals to the Yankees. I never make promises as to what the free-agent market might bear. I’m in the business of providing information to my clients and negotiating on their behalf. I’m not in the business of promising my clients contracts.”
First of all, I think it’s telling that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is not involved in this. That’s potentially a signal that he once again does not have interest in bringing Soriano back. And if Cashman is in Hal Steinbrenner‘s ear then Levine may not have much leeway in how much he can offer. Of course, since Levine is taking the lead on this we certainly can’t assume he won’t do anything stupid.
Soriano opted out of the final year of his three-year, $35 million deal earlier this morning that would have paid him $14 million this season. He’ll get a $1.5 million buyout for his troubles too. The Yankees will offer him a $13.3 million qualifying offer that he’ll likely reject which will earned them a sandwich pick in next year’s draft if he signs somewhere else.
The Yankees may have Mariano Rivera returning next year after sitting out most of 2012 with a torn ACL, but the all-time saves leader has hinted that he might retire. If he does indeed retire that may increase the Yankees efforts to bring back Soriano or they might just go with a bullpen with David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma in the back end. In that case the 22-year-old minor league reliever Mark Montgomery, who had a 1.54 ERA, a 13.8 K/9, and a 3.1 BB/9 in 46 games in High-A and Double-A, could be aggressively promoted and end up playing a role in the bullpen in the Bronx.
In 69 games this season, Soriano had a 2.26 ERA, a 9.2 K/9, a 3.2 BB/9 and a 37.8 ground ball percentage over 67.7 innings pitched.