The Rafael Soriano deal represents some pretty sweet work by Scott Boras. Not just the in the sell-ice-to-Eskimos sense — the Yankees already have a pretty decent bullpen ace — but also in its structure.
As was reported all over the place, the contract calls for Soriano to make $10 million this season, $11 million in 2012 and $14 million in 2013. But the final two years are player options, which means that Soriano can opt-out after this season. Or after 2012. This is savvy because there’s a non-trivial chance that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will do away with free agent compensation picks heading into 2012, and Soriano’s status as a Type-A was probably the biggest thing hindering his marketability this year. No one wants to give up a first round pick if they don’t have to.
So, if Soriano has a great year, he can make big money again next winter. And of course, then the deal is way better for the Yankees than first thought because it could only be a one year deal. If he doesn’t? Well, they’re still the Yankees and they can handle it.