Rafael Soriano gauging interest before making arbitration decision

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Rafael Soriano must decide by midnight whether to accept the Braves’ arbitration offer, so ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that his agent will spend the day trying to figure out if any teams are willing to beat what would likely be a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $7 million.
When healthy Soriano is one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, posting a 2.97 ERA, 102/27 K/BB ratio, and .194 opponents’ batting average in 75.2 innings for the Braves this season. However, he has a history of arm problems and as a Type A free agent he’ll cost a first-round draft pick to sign, so that has significantly lessened the number of interested teams.
Atlanta has already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to seemingly replace Soriano and fellow free agent Mike Gonzalez, so the Braves almost surely would rather have draft picks than re-sign Soriano.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.