[12:53pm] There was a report that Soriano’s deal is non-guaranteed. That is not correct. It is guaranteed. Had Soriano gone to arbitration the contract would have been non-guaranteed as are all contracts for free agents that accept (and go to) arbitration.
[12:09pm] Ken Rosenthal says (via Twitter) the Rays and Rafael Soriano have agreed to a one-year deal for about $7 million. Teams now have to review players’ medical records before signing off on the deal.
[11:22am] And here comes the news that we were expecting. Ken Rosenthal says (via Twitter) the Rays and Rafael Soriano are negotiating a 1-year deal and that the trade is not official until a new deal is agreed upon. Also, we would not be surprised if the Rays insist that Soriano agree in the contract to decline arbitration next winter if it is offered.
[Update] Marc Topkin reports that deal is now official pending a physical.
Late last night Marc Topkin reported that the Rays and Braves were close to agreeing on a trade for Rafael Soriano. The Rays would send Jesse Chavez to the Braves.
The deal appears set if the medical reports check out on Thursday, with the Rays paying all of Soriano’s salary – a commitment from ownership to making a run at the playoffs this season as the payroll could now approach $70-million – and Chavez heading to Atlanta.
The biggest complication in this trade is money. We speculated yesterday that it would be near-impossible for cash to be part of this deal as nobody knows how much Soriano will make in 2010. Soriano was a free agent that accepted arbitration as his Type A status would have hurt his value on the open-market. He stands to make $7.0-7.5 million in arbitration.
We suspected that the Rays would prefer to negotiate a new contract with Soriano before agreeing to a trade. However, now it appears that they may be willing to deal now and talk later.
The next question, assuming no last minute hiccups, is the Rays payroll. Just a few days ago, Stuart Sternberg said “The bank is full…There is no $7 million closer showing up.” Well, a $7 million closer just showed up.
Did the Sternberg approve a jump in payroll to close to $70 million? Or does Andrew Friedman have another move in mind to get the payroll back down? Might the Rays be close to moving Carl Crawford or Carlos Pena, two players that make more than $20 million combined? Or can they find somebody to take Dan Wheeler’s $3.5 million?
Nothing would surprise us at this point.