Rumor: Soriano expected to opt out of contract today

This isn’t a surprise, but Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract on Wednesday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Heyman notes that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Soriano will part ways with the Yankees as they will likely make him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million. Even if he rejects that, he could turn around and negotiate a long-term deal with the Yankees who could be without Mariano Rivera again next year if he decides to retire.

He might not reject the qualifying offer though. His contract for next season is worth $14 million, but it comes with a $1.5 million buyout. If he opts out and takes the buyout, he can turn around and accept the qualifying offer of $13.3 million and end up with a total of $14.8 million next year. Can’t think of an easier way to land an extra $800K than that.

If he does reject the qualifying offer it is hard to see the Yankees re-signing him though. We know that Brian Cashman will be against it and they’re trying to get the payroll under $189 million by 2014. A multi-year deal for Soriano doesn’t make a lot of sense if the Yankees have other options. Even if Rivera did retire, they could easily promote David Robertson for the position and figure out a way to put the rest of the bullpen together much more cheaply than it would cost to re-sign Soriano on a multi-year deal.

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