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

Use your imagination. - Jim McIsaac

The former Yankees reliever had a 2.26 ERA last season.

Rafael Soriano is a reliever who walked away from a guaranteed $14 million in 2013, opting out of his contract with the Yankees. It's January now, and people were wondering if Soriano made a mistake.

Rafael Soriano is represented by Scott Boras, who seems to have a pretty danged good idea what he's doing. Soriano signed a two-year, $28 million deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, a stunning deal for a team that suffered a stunning bullpen collapse at the end of the 2012 National League Division Series.

After a huge year as the Rays' closer in 2010, Soriano signed a three-year, $35 million contract to be the setup man for Mariano Rivera. The big contract was a tradeoff for the demotion of sorts, and it looked like a misstep when Soriano struggled through 2011. When 2012 started, he was the third option for the Yankees to close, at best, behind Rivera and David Robertson.

So in a very real way, you can say that Rivera's injury meant tens of millions in extra cash for Soriano, who takes over as the closer for a Nationals bullpen that already had Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. It will be an expensive bullpen. But it will, quite likely, be a fantastic bullpen.

The 33-year-old Soriano had a 2.26 ERA last season, walking 24 and striking out 69 in 67⅔ innings.

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