By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The offseason new got tougher for the Yankees as they lost closer Rafael Soriano on the free-agent market to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Alex Rodriguez had successful hip surgery, but the recovery time is likely to keep him out for a good part of the season.
Yankees austerity program costs them Soriano: One theme in this Yankees offseason is how they are paring their payroll down to under $189 million for the 2014 season when the luxury tax penalty is exorbitant. In order to do that, they have given most players, such as Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Kevin Youkilis, one-year contracts.
They offered Rafael Soriano a one-year qualifying offer after he opted out of his existing three-year deal, which would have paid him $14 million in 2013. With Scott Boras as his agent, it was a dangerous move to give Soriano the power to “opt-out” after each season of the three-year contract.
Instead, he goes to the Washington Nationals for two years and $28 million. This is a major upgrade for the Nationals, who had Tyler Clippard as their closer last season.
Soriano became the Yankees closer in May when Mariano Rivera went down to injury. He was arguably the best closer in the American League, as he had 42 saves and a 2.26 ERA. The last year he was a full-time closer was 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays and he had 45 saves.
This hurts the Yankees, as there is no closer-in-waiting for Rivera, who is getting over a torn ACL in his right knee. At 43, it will be interesting to see how Rivera gets over this injury and how durable he will be. Even if he recovers, it is hard to see Rivera pitching for more than a couple of years. Rivera signed a one-year deal at $10 million.
Despite the payroll issues, this is a short-sighted move to let Soriano get away. He was brought here in 2011 to be the closer after Rivera retires.
A-Rod hip surgery goes well: Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had successful surgery on his left hip.
He is likely to be out until mid-July, as the recovery time is expected to be six months.
Rodriguez said on Facebook, “Surgery went well! The road to recovery officially begins…looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
The surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan by Dr. Brian Kelly.
The Yankees announced that it “went as planned and without complication.”