Rafael Soriano had a 2.26 ERA in 67 2/3 innings last year for the Yankees while converting 42 saves in 46 opportunities. But he has struggled to attract offers on the open market this offseason because of the draft pick (and draft pool money) that a team would have to forfeit in order to ink a deal with him.
Some have suggested that he should simply return to the Yankees on a one-year contract and try again to hit it big in free agency next winter. But the New York front office apparently wants no part of that.
Anthony Rieber of Newsday brings the goods:
Closer Rafael Soriano still is a free agent, but a return to the Yankees seems unlikely. Soriano opted out of the final year of his Yankees deal after saving 42 games in place of the injured Mariano Rivera.
“I cannot talk about players on the free-agent market,” [Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman said. “But I am not looking for bullpen help, I can tell you that.”
Soriano would have made $14 million in 2013 had he not exercised that opt-out clause. He also declined a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees back in November. His agent is Scott Boras.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”