Rafael Soriano was late reporting to the Nationals’ spring training complex this week because of an issue with his work visa. But that’s all settled now.
According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, the Dominican right-hander arrived in Viera, Florida on Saturday morning. He was greeted in the clubhouse by Nats general manager Mike Rizzo and new teammate Gio Gonzalez, and then held court with reporters.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Soriano said. “I come here and [we will] see what happens the next two weeks. I want to be comfortable with everybody here and win this year. … I want to win. That’s all I’m here for.”
Soriano signed a two-year, $28 million free agent contract with Washington this offseason after registering a fantastic 2.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 69/24 K/BB ratio across 67 2/3 innings last summer for the Yankees. The 33-year-old is expected to function as the Nationals’ primary ninth-inning man in 2013.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.