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  1. And presumably the Yanks would offer him a qualifying offer, so there’s that…

    Comment by TKDC — September 14, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  2. Please correct me if I’m off base, but can we give him credit for his ability to suppress BABIP? Over about 500 IP, he’s allowed a .250 BABIP. If one looks at his RA9 wins rather than just his fWAR (14.0 vs 9.1 over his career), a big contract might look a little less stupid, right?

    Comment by Fletch — September 14, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  3. Maybe a little. He’s still 33 and has an injury history. You can pay him for what he’s already done if you want to, but I think smart money is on paying him for what you think he is going to do going forward.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — September 14, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  4. He doesn’t need to find an AAV of $14M to make it a smart decision to opt out, just a deal with a big enough total value to offset the 2013 salary. If someone will give him 3/30M, opting out makes sense even though he’d *only* be making 10M a year.

    Comment by Ben — September 14, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  5. I think opting out is a no-brainer. He’s not going to get less than the 14MM total over 1 year if he opts out. (remember, he gets a 1.5MM buyout for opting out).

    Opt out, take the buyout. If the Yankees make him a qualifying offer, accept, and ~13 + 1.5= ~14.5 MM.

    If the Yankees don’t make him a qualifying offer, test the market.

    Someone will pay him 14-15MM for one year if that’s all the year guarantee he wants. And if he wants a multi year deal, he’ll get 10MM a year pretty easily.

    And, his earning power diminishes if he stays with the Yankees for next year, since he won’t be closing next year since Mariano Rivera will be back in tow and closers are overvalued on the market.

    Comment by BX — September 14, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  6. Methodology question: how did you measure the difference between dollars paid and value received for reliever contracts?

    Comment by mcbrown — September 14, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  7. The important thing to a reliever is years rather than money. He’d be foolish not to opt out considering the savvy maneuver of putting those clauses there in the first place.

    Comment by RMD — September 14, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  8. Reliever BABIP also tends to be lower than starter BABIP b/c relievers take advantage of platoon splits and short stints. Compare his BABIP (which is still probably relatively low) to other relievers, not to all other pitchers.

    Comment by chuckb — September 14, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  9. Right. He just has to end up with more than he believes he would receive when he’s a free agent next year. A 3 year contract worth X where X > $14 M + the sum of the salaries he’d receive in a 2 year deal signed next year.

    Comment by chuckb — September 14, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  10. I’m hesitant to value relievers based on fWAR (or any FIP based stat really). Sample size and a wider range of sustainable rates make the stat less representative of RP talent than probably any other position (even catchers).

    Comment by Anon — September 14, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  11. Valuing relievers on WAR is questionable period, regardless of implementation. It is hardly a secret that relievers are “overpaid” on the basis of $/WAR, and yet elite relievers continue be highly paid, even sometimes in sophisticated organizations. I think it’s fairly obvious that $/WAR is not the right metric for evaluating reliever contracts, even if we don’t yet know what the right metric is.

    Comment by mcbrown — September 14, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  12. Good point – I did not realize he had the buyout (it’s weird to get a buy out for opting out). So there is a decent chance that this is sort of a game of chicken. Do the Yankees give him an offer thinking that he’s actually intent on testing the market?

    Comment by TKDC — September 14, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  13. Is it reasonable to assume that the Yankees will want to re-sign him to this projected three years, $30 mil contract, if he were to opt out? If Mariano Rivera returns, then they’re obviously set at closer, and David Robertson is clearly a dominant eighth inning/setup guy. Plus there is the obvious fact that giving a guy $30 mil to be a setup guy is idiotic; the Yankees made this mistake one time, surely they wouldn’t make it again (right?).

    Comment by Robbie G. — September 14, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  14. They should give him an offer anyway because its a win-win situation for them.

    Sure, Soriano is expensive, but a 1 year, 14MM commitment to an elite reliever when you’re the Yankees and perennially contending isn’t particularly bad. (and 2014, not 2013, is the year the Yanks are trying to get under the luxury tax).

    If he’s intent on testing the market, he’ll decline, which will put Soriano at an incredible handicap since he’ll cost a draft pick and draft picks are worth a lot more now.

    Comment by BX — September 14, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  15. The difference between the two groups of pitchers as a whole is just a couple of points.

    Comment by I Agree Guy — September 14, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  16. I wonder if he is one of those oddball relievers who only pitches his best in true save situations. If so, with Rivera presumed to be back in that role next year, it might be better for everybody if he opts out and becomes some other team’s actual closer.

    Comment by joser — September 14, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  17. I liked the Scott Downs deal

    Comment by downbythebay — September 14, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  18. Best case scenario for yanks is he opts out and declines the qualifying offer. They save the money and get the draft pick. Second best is that he doesn’t opt out.

    Comment by TKDC — September 15, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  19. His opting out success with the Yankees will be based on A) the recovery of Rivera, (as well as the immediate availability of him) and B) the presumed depth of the bullpen.

    Given that the Yankees will ease Rivera back (age and injury type), and bp depth is always considered volatile, even with proven arms, I think Soriano will be back, with a better deal.

    Comment by Cidron — September 15, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  20. If Rivera returns he won’t get saves next year. And teams seem to LOVE to pay for saves. So it’s probably smart for him to opt out.

    Comment by Preston — September 15, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  21. I suppose the Yankees could always flip him at the trade deadline if it looks like Rivera is back to His Old Self

    Comment by joser — September 15, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  22. An interesting wrinkle to the qualifying offer that could backfire on the Yankees, at least in the sense it could make Soriano more costly.

    Just checking Soriano’s contract on Cots. If he elects to opt out, then the Yankees still have to pay him $1.5M. MLB recently announced that qualifying offers this offseason are expected to be just under $13.5M. The Yankees make the qualfying offer, Scott Boras (Soriano’s agent) turns right around and accepts it, in essence raising Soriano’s compensation in 2013 from $14M to $15M ($13.5+$1.5) without Soriano leaving his couch.

    Comment by Riley — September 15, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  23. This is about guaranteed money, which is why he will most likely opt-out.

    As I noted above regarding the $1M gamble the Yankees will take if they offer Soriano a qualfying offer, the Yankees will owe Soriano $1.5M if he opts out, which basically means he’ll be leaving $12.5M on the table. He won’t get a one-year contract with an annual average of $12.5M, but he doesn’t have to. As Paul noted in his article, Soriano has had some injuries over the years, including as recently as 2011, something both Soriano and his agent know. He’s going to lose his closer position in 2013 if he stays with the Yankees. Would they rather take him to market as a 40+-save closer, or have him hit the market a year later one year older and as a 7th-inning set-up man?

    They’re going to capitalize on his season, take a lower annual average for 2013, but get more guaranteed money. It’s actually a pretty easy decision.

    Comment by Riley — September 15, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  24. Good point and very possible.

    Comment by tbjfan — September 16, 2012 @ 1:27 am

  25. but after the heath bell deal and all the busts for long term contracts as relievers the best he does is 3 yrs 25 mil i think, especially at his age. so if he takes the 14 next year and hits free agency after next year all he would have to do is make like 5 mill a year which he should be able to manage easily, so i say he shouldnt opt out because he will make up the bulk of his free ageny contract in the final year with the yanks

    Comment by casey — September 16, 2012 @ 4:29 am

  26. But some of his injury history is getting hit by comebackers. Maybe you can characterize that as a problem (if his batted ball profile disproportionately results in line-drives up the middle) and maybe it’s just bad luck, but absent that he doesn’t seem a lot more injury-prone than many other pitchers. Arm problems that lead to the DL are always red flags, of course, so his elbow injury is worrisome; on the other hand, it doesn’t seem to be nagging him now.

    Comment by joser — September 16, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

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