[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.

hangoverLate 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.

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9 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    There's no way they can make this move on its face and not trade away someone else who makes something in the same ballpark salary-wise.

    Since speculation is fun, let's start! Crawford to the Giants for a Madison Bumgarner package?

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  2. Don says:

    Why does everybody say(think) there is going to be a payroll Increase?
    Rays already got rid of Precival & Aki at about $13 Mil savings....
    And they are working on dumping Navarro, Burell, Wheeler, and others!
    How about this for "SPECULATION".....RAYS SIGN CC THIS WINTER FOR 5-7 yr DEAL!

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    • The Rays have a ton of arbitration cases so a lot of players are going to get big raises. Addings Soriano brings the projected payroll up to about $70 million. Last year it was $63 million.

      http://www.raysindex.com/2009/10/projected-2010-tampa-bay-rays-40-man-roster-and-payroll.html

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  3. U Got Bwnd says:

    Interesting. If it goes up to 70 million I will be surprised because if anything, I thought that Sternburg was leaning towards reducing this year's payroll.

    I remember a quote saying they were "borrowing" money from future season's payrolls.

    As of now I would assume that still holds true and the Rays will be moving Navarro and/or someone else.

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  4. Gus says:

    I find it humrous how Sternberg's budget pronouciations are taken as the gospel truth in the blogosphere and not questioned except by skeptics like me. One of the things that happens at the owners meetings is the central fund distributions are set for 2010. A second thing that happens is that owners like Stu who have been pocketing central fund money are brow beat by the owners, the commissoner and agents into spending money to keep their teams competitive. Assuming the player performs (I must confess I haven;t seen him pitch much), this is a solid and long overdue move for the bullpen and a much needed increase to the payroll.

    I'd note, even at $70M/1.8M attendance in 2010, there is plenty of profit for Stu and his limited partners. In fact, by having a real closer they may have chance at hosting some more playoff games and increase their profits further. Congrats on the chutzpah.

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  5. Don says:

    Now Rays (site) and MLB reporting the deal....hate to think about a Jason Bay type of bad reporting situation...but If everything is true....
    It was a hell of a job for the GM and his people....
    Congrads to Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternbergs effort to improve the Rays franchise...and worry about finances(payroll) later...
    We lucked out with these people in Tampabay for baseball!

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  6. Red22 says:

    This is a great move for the Rays! If anybody becomes a salary dump, it's going to be Dan Wheeler. This move tells me that the Rays are unsure if they will be able to extend C.C. So, they'll give a shot at winning a World Series. The payroll projections of what guys will be making is going to jump to the $75 million range, and I think Stu is ok with that. Now, if the Rays are 8 games back in June, I can see them stripping it down and rebuilding. Guys like C.C., Pena, and Soriano would be highly sought after in the trade market, and could land us about 3 major league-ready prospects plus more. And not to mention, we have 6 of the top 80 picks in the draft next year. With that money coming off the books, we'll be able to afford some big investments in the draft. Remember, Stu and his crew are excellent business men, and this is how they will more than likely look at it.

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