Once their most prized off-season target, Cliff Lee, opted to move to Rittenhouse Square instead of heading to New York, the Yankees realized they had quite a bit of scratch laying around up there in the Bronx. Late Thursday night they decided to get busy spending some of that cash by inking former Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano to a 3-year, $35 million dollar contract to be the set-up man for Mariano Rivera.
The deal will become official once Soriano passes a physical. The deal has some quirky structuring, via the New York Times:
According to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal, the contract contains opt-out clauses after each of the first two seasons. If Soriano fulfills the terms, he will make $10 million in 2011, $11 million in 2012 and $14 million in 2013. If he opts out after this season, Soriano stands to receive $11.5 million, and $21.5 million if he does so after 2012, when Rivera’s two-year deal expires.
The Times article also goes on to note that the Yankees believe their pen to now be the best in baseball.
Initial reaction from Yankees fans on Twitter indicated shock over just how much money the Yankees will be paying a set-up man. Then they remembered they were the Yankees and that money didn't really matter to them.
>>Yankees Sign Soriano for Bullpen [NYTimes]