The Washington Nationals signed high-priced free agent Rafael Soriano to a two year, $21 million dollar deal to be their closer today. I like the move a lot, but perhaps not as much as Jim Bowden who was all over it today.
I am probably one of the few people out there who admires what the Nationals are doing on a few fronts.
1. They’re clearly going ‘all in’ right now and spending the money to do it. The loss that will sting forever–game five of the NLDS against the Cardinals–is something that they’re going to take all measures to make sure it never happens again. Soriano got closer money, and this allows more flexibility for the electric arms with less closing experience (Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Henry Rodriguez) to set him up. When you can play match-ups with electric arms like that, good things will probably follow. This is the ultimate hedging of bets at the back end of the Nationals bullpen.
2. The Nationals continue to play nicely with super agent Scott Boras. It’s only my opinion, but the Nationals could be trying to earn brownie points with Boras so that Bryce Harper never hits the open market and signs a contract extension with Washington with the time comes (that time being 2018). Other theories out there say that the Nationals are one of the only avenues that Boras can even go through anymore to get a deal done because most organizations won’t bother negotiating with him. I think it’s the former. The Nationals are paying Scott Boras a lot of money with every client they sign. When the time comes to offer Harper a long-term extension, it’s possible that if Harper wants to stay with Washington and they’re willing to pay what Boras perceives a fair deal that Harper never tests the market.
No matter the reason, I think Soriano will pay huge dividends and sponge up the saves in the nation’s capital this upcoming season. When he’s healthy, he’s got electric stuff.
As Jim Bowden said; and forgive me for letting kindling near a bonfire, it’s the cherry on top of what has been a monster off-season for the Nats.