Rafael Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that the former Rays closer would be willing to serve as a setup man on the Yankees, saying “that door is open for a number of different reasons.”
Here’s more from Boras on Soriano’s potential interest in setting up Mariano Rivera in New York:
I don’t think there is a team in baseball where he could be asked to be a setup guy other than the Yankees. There is also a value in playing with Mariano Rivera.
All of which sounds good, but my guess is most of Soriano’s potential interest in being a setup man for the Yankees depends on their willingness to pay him like a closer and the entire scenario is only a realistic option because he’s found the market lacking in multi-year offers to close elsewhere.
As a Type A free agent the team that signs Soriano will have to forfeit a first-round draft pick and his history of arm problems may also have scared some teams off, but he’s been healthy in back-to-back seasons and was a dominant reliever even before getting a chance to be a full-time closer in Tampa Bay, posting a 2.73 ERA with 422 strikeouts in 395 career innings.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.