Rafael Soriano is going to opt out of his contract today

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Rafael Soriano has until tonight to opt out of his contract. We’ve known for a while that he’s likely to do so, but Jon Heyman says that, yes, it will happen today.

It’s a no-brainer for him, even if he didn’t want to test the free agent market. He’s slated to make $14 million in 2013. If he opts out he gets $1.5 million. If the Yankees make him a qualifying offer — which they would be silly not to given what they’d pay him otherwise and because doing so gets them a draft pick if he leaves — it’s another $13.3 million. $13.3 million + 1.5 million = more than $14 million (Maths, I haz them).

That said, Soriano and his man Scott Boras are expected to shop his services for a multi-year deal. Closers, as a rule, are bad long term bets, although Soriano seems like a better bet than a lot of them. And given how here-today-gone-tomorrow that gig can be, even if Soriano gets a modest multi-year deal that pays him less in 2013 than he’d stand to get if he didn’t opt-out — something silly-low like two-years, $20 million — it’s more guaranteed money than he can count on otherwise.

Just ask Ryan Madson and Jose Valverde about what it’s like to plan for next year when you’re a closer.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.