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Sunday, March 4, 2012

POSSIBLE HEIR APPARENT TO MARIANO: RAFAEL SORIANO

In case you missed it, check out the first possible heir apparent piece titled WHY HOUDINI WILL BE THE NEXT MARIANO about David Robertson. Be sure to read it.
Now, I know I’ll likely get a lot of grief for bringing up Rafael Soriano as a possible heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, but whether we like it or not, Soriano has just as much of a chance to become Mo’s heir apparent than you know.

All in all Soriano came off a rough 2011 season, his first season in Pinstripes. But hear me out, he’ll have a big season this year and elevate himself back into the discussion by the fans as to who will “replace” Mariano Rivera. I wrote WHY RAFAEL SORIANO WILL REBOUND IN 2012, and in it I explained Soriano’s possible change in mindset while rehabbing his elbow injury suffered in the middle of last season. He needed to check his ego, considering his body language and attitude off the field wasn’t even close to being ideal. And because of that, the results on the mound showed, as he posted a solid 3.33 ERA and 26/7 K/BB ratio in 26 games, and maybe, just maybe, reinstalled some confidence in Yankees fans going forward.Soriano definitely has experience as a closer, which could help his case to becoming the next Yankees closer. He has 90 career saves with half of those coming as a Tampa Bay Ray in 2010. In that season Soriano posted a 1.73 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, an 8.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 rates while also earning his first, and so far only, career All Star appearance. This stellar season, of course, netted him a shiny 3-year, $35 million contract with the Yankees prior to last season.There is a quirk in Soriano’s contract, though. Rafael can opt-out of his deal following the season. This may sound crazy, as he’s 32 years old, and will be guaranteed $14 million in 2013, but if he were to have a season similar to that of 2010, which wouldn’t be too surprising to me if that happened; he could opt-out and potentially cash in if the Yankees are desperate. Not to mention, Scott Boras is his agent, so expect the unexpected. We’ve seen crazier things before with Boras, and something like this could very well happen.

First and foremost, Rafael Soriano needs to have a big 2012, in my opinion, to be considered as Mariano Rivera’s heir apparent. Who knows if he’ll really opt-out of his contract, but I don’t see him opting out if he has a less-than-stellar season again as, like I said earlier, he’ll be guaranteed $14 million in 2013. Although he’s not a fan favorite, there’s a reason why the Yankees signed him. They knew he was an elite level reliever when right, and because of that he should get just as much of a look as David Robertson or anyone else to be Rivera’s heir apparent.



--Jesse Schindler, BYB Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter
@SchindlerJesse



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