Well, so much for Brian Cashman saying that he wouldn’t give up the team’s first round draft pick, huh? In a somewhat stunning — and in my opinion utterly idiotic – decision, the Yankees have signed Rafael Soriano to a three year, $35 million dollar deal to set up Mariano Rivera. The deal, apparently, has a provisional clause that gives Soriano the right to opt out in each of the first two years. Presumably a good season by Soriano and he’ll seek to resume his closing duties on another team next year. Perhaps this is the only saving grace here; the Yankees may well be rid of this absurdly wasteful contract in just one calendar year…
Perhaps this move means that the Yankees have reconsidered Joba Chamberlain’s future with the club. Either he’s about to be traded or he’s about to be re-inserted into the rotation. Only the former would satisfy me. The latter…ugh, I’d rather not even think about it.
For those that deem me a blatant Cashman apologist, take heed and remember this post. I hate this move and I simply don’t see the logic behind it. This is the Nick Johnson decision multiplied seven-fold. I just hope it doesn’t suck seven times as much too.
Update 9:57 p.m.: According to this Tweet from Tyler Kepner, the value of the contract depends on if Soriano exercises his options. If he should opt out after the first year, he earns $11.5M. If he should opt out after the second year, he earns $21.5M. Obviously he earns the full $35M if he stays the full three years.
As I said above, the hope here is that Soriano is lights out in 2011 and can find a closer’s job on another team, saving the Yankees the unearned $23.5M portion of the contract. Theoretically, the Yankees could offer Soriano arbitration and recoup the lost draft picks although precedent shows that Cashman likely won’t go that route.