ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10: Pitcher Rafael Soriano #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws against the Texas Rangers during game 4 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 10, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Yankees Sign Rafael Soriano To Form Daunting 1-2 Punch

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Rafael Soriano Contract The Result Of Split Yankees Front Office

Late Thursday, the Yankees made a free agent reliever a very rich man, signing Rafael Soriano to a three-year contract worth $35 million. What's interesting - beyond the signing itself - is that, just recently, general manager Brian Cashman had told the press that he didn't want to sign a Type A free agent reliever because he didn't want the Yankees to lose their first round draft pick. Soriano is a Type A free agent reliever, and the Yankees have lost their first round draft pick.

Clearly, something changed, and according to Buster Olney, the Yankees' front office was split as to what approach they wanted to take. The baseball operations department was reluctant to offer Soriano a lot of money. It was ownership that drove this deal to completion, likely because Soriano is a big splash and the team has been unable to do much of anything else.

One wonders about the status of a front office in which ownership has gone over the top of the general manager's head. There are certain things that just come with working for the Yankees that you simply have to accept, but Brian Cashman probably isn't thrilled with this most recent course of events.

Buster Olney also says that, before signing Soriano, the Yankees had discussed a sign-and-trade with free agent reliever Grant Balfour. Such a deal would not have cost them their first round draft pick. On Friday, Grant Balfour signed a two-year contract with Oakland.

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Rafael Soriano Contract With Yankees Worth $35 Million

On Thursday night, we found out from Jon Heyman that Rafael Soriano had signed a contract with the Yankees. Heyman reported that the contract was expected to be worth $35 million over three years, and via Yahoo!'s Tim Brown, we get confirmation. Soriano will indeed, for the time being, become the Yankees' ninth eight-figure salary player.

The contract does contain some flexibility. Also from Heyman, we see that Soriano will be able to opt out after one year or two. The details of his opt-out clause aren't known, so we can't go any further than this, but it's an interesting note.

Soriano's contract with the Yankees isn't yet official, but is only pending a physical, which should be no problem. Once that's passed, he'll join Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Pedro Feliciano as part of an impressive relief corps that should protect most any lead it's given. And while Soriano probably isn't thrilled with the idea of going back to being a setup man, he does stand to be the heir to Rivera's throne in a couple years should everything go as planned.

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Rafael Soriano Agrees To Contract With Yankees

In a bold move, the New York Yankees have gone out and signed free agent reliever Rafael Soriano in an effort to bolster their bullpen.

According to Jon Heyman, the contract is expected to be worth somewhere around $35 million over three years. That would be an awful lot of money, especially given that closer Mariano Rivera signed a $30 million, two-year contract last month, but this is the Yankees, and they play with money in a way different from most everyone else.

To date, this offseason hasn't gone the way the Yankees wanted it to, as they missed out on top target Cliff Lee along with Carl Crawford while the Red Sox added Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Until now, all the Yankees had really been able to manage was re-signing Rivera and Derek Jeter. But by signing Soriano, they've made a statement that, while they haven't been able to make big additions to the lineup or rotation, they plan to have a bullpen worth fearing.

The Yankees had been in talks with the 31-year-old Soriano for a while, with mixed messages being sent out as to whether the team was willing to pay big money for a setup man. Soriano was the closer for the Rays last season and the closer for the Braves the season before that, but obviously didn't stand to fill the same role with New York. Nevertheless, there's an agreement in place, and Soriano will bring his very talented righty arm to many eighth innings. He's posted a 2.41 ERA the last two seasons with 159 strikeouts in 138 innings, and between him and Rivera, the Yankees don't stand to lose many late leads.

Soriano was a Type A free agent, so the Yankees will lose their first round draft pick to the Rays.

For more, check out Pinstripe Alley.

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