Soriano and his opt-outs.


Rafael Soriano just signed a 3 year, $35 million deal with the Yankees, as some of you may have heard.

And maybe I am just not getting this, but to me it feels like the Yankees get something out of these opt-outs too, rather than if it was simply a 3 year, $35 million contract with NO opt-outs.

The risk for a a reliever, on a 3-year deal with a lot of money involved ($35 million), is not the best way to build a team. Or the shrewdest of moves, I would say. Throw in Soriano's injury history in addition to all of that, and the only way this deal is worth it, is if he of course pitches well.

So, Soriano will only opt-out if he has a better offer, or thinks he can get a better offer, which means he will have to have pitched very well in order to do so. And since the draft pick is lost either way, it seems that if Soriano is great in 2011, then he might opt-out -- and the Yankees should be fine with that...

...because it would eliminate the risk of having to pay him two more years at $25 million. They would have surrendered the draft pick, and received one good year of Soriano, at $10 million.

Is anyone suggesting that signing Soriano to a one year deal, at $10 million would have been a mistake? Even so, it would have been much more logical to sign him for one or two years, rather than a guaranteed three. If there was no opt-out, then Soriano could have a great year, which is good for both parties, but the Yankees are still on the hook for 2 more years, $25 million for an injury prone reliever.

And there is nothing they can do about it, as they HAVE to pay him the money.

The only way the Yankees seem to lose is if Soriano doesn't pitch close to what he is being paid -- relative to what relievers are paid in general, not just what they are worth according to fWAR.  If he posts, say, a 3.90 ERA and a 4.00 FIP, then opts out, the Yankees will have lost a draft pick AND received a performance that was not indicative of Soriano's talent level or his given salary.  But the likelihood of him opting out after a sub-par year is practically non-existent, as only a foolish front office would give him more than the 2 years, $25 million he would already be guaranteed to get from the Yankees.

I honestly might not be getting this concept.  I have had several people explain to me that having these opt-outs is worse for the Yankees, than not having them, and having given Soriano that three year, $35 million contract with no opt-outs at all.  But it seems like Brian Cashman -- who according to sources wasn't really on board with this transaction -- now has a way of not having to commit all this money to Soriano.  If there was no way to opt-out, then Cashman would have to pay a 31 year old, injury-risk of a reliever, $35 million, no ifs, and's, or but's about it.  

I know that people say player opt-outs most always favor the player himself, but for some reason I can't grasp the concept that this doesn't help the Yankees too.  

So finishing up...I don't condone these types of contracts to relievers.  Because three years is too long for relievers in their 30's, and giving up the draft pick is a definite risk as well.  So the Soriano contract is not a good one, and am no way am I saying that it is.  It just seems to me that this contract is better than it would be, if there was no escape for the Yankees.  No escape for Cashman, who has proven in the past that he prefers to be build a cheap bullpen surrounding Rivera.  Investing money into starting pitching and position players all around the diamond. 

And now there is an escape...

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