Deal sending Soriano to Rays is done

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UPDATE: The deal is now official. It’s 1-year, $7.25 million.
12-10-09, 12:21 P.M.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the trade sending Rafael Soriano from Atlanta to Tampa Bay is all but completed after the Rays worked out a one-year deal worth around $7 million with Soriano.
Tampa Bay wanted to get a contract finalized rather than risk going to arbitration with Soriano, because at that point his 2010 salary would be largely out of the Rays’ hands. Atlanta wanted to shed Soriano’s salary after he surprisingly accepted the Braves’ arbitration offer, and in doing so pick up a fairly generic middle reliever in Jesse Chavez.
While costly, Soriano is a huge addition to the Rays’ bullpen after saving 27 games with a 2.97 ERA, 102/27 K/BB ratio, and .194 opponents’ batting average over 75.2 innings in 2009. When healthy he’s among the most dominant pitchers in baseball and forms an excellent righty-lefty combo with J.P. Howell. Soriano figures to take over as the full-time closer after Howell led the team with just 17 saves and eight other Rays notched at least one. Very nice move for Tampa Bay.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.