Rafael Soriano signs a 2-year, $28 million deal with the Nationals

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Rafael Soriano is officially not coming back to the Yankees next year as the closer has signed a two-year, $28 million deal with the Washington Nationals, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

The deal also includes a vesting option for a third year worth another $14 million that will kick in if he finishes a combined 120 games over the next two seasons, per Passan.

This move means that the Yankees will now have 27th, 31st, and 32nd overall picks in the 2013 draft as they made Soriano a qualifying offer that he turned down. There are still two more players with qualifying offers on the market and depending on where they sign it could change the Yankees draft position slightly, but they are now guaranteed three picks before the second round (their own first pick, one for Nick Swisher signing and this one).

This signing also makes Soriano the second most highest paid reliever ever so those that doubted Scott Boras turned out to be wrong. The $14 million average annual salary is only behind the $15 million average annual Mariano Rivera made on his last contract.

The Yankees and Soriano never really had serious discussions this offseason, but because of the way he was initially brought in, against Brian Cashman’s wishes, it seemed like the possibility of a return was always possible. Boras was initially looking for a big multi-year deal, but the market for Soriano’s services wasn’t strong. All it takes is one team though and he found it. Really, this is a solid deal for him too. There didn’t seem like many other options besides Washington either, although the Dodgers name has been dropped recently.

Either way, Soriano’s done and the Yankees have themselves in a nice position draft-wise this year. Three first round picks can take a decent minor league system and could potentially make it one of the best in baseball. That is if they take advantage of all three picks and actually sign the players.

Without Soriano, Rivera is expected to anchor a bullpen that will also include David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, David Aardsma, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, and Cody Eppley with some solid minor league options to fill in when the inevitable injury occurs.

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