Well, nobody could have predicted this one.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Rafael Soriano will undergo a precautionary MRI after he showed up to the ballpark today with what Yankees manager Joe Girardi called a “tender” elbow.
Soriano, who signed a three-year, $35 million contract with the Yankees over the winter, has a 5.79 ERA and 9/9 K/BB ratio over his first 14 innings of work this season. The 31-year-old right-hander previously underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2004 and had exploratory surgery on the elbow in August of 2008.
Soriano tells Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that he’s fine, but it will be interesting to hear Brian Cashman’s comments if the MRI reveals something serious.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.