No surprise, but James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals are expected to decline their $14 million option on right-hander Rafael Soriano.
Soriano has been one of the best relievers in baseball for years and was fantastic in the first half with 22 saves and a 0.97 ERA, but then he posted a 6.48 ERA in the second half while being stripped of closing duties and nearly being left off the Nationals’ playoff roster.
Drew Storen, who had a 1.12 ERA this season and has a 2.94 ERA for his career, will take over as the full-time closer with Tyler Clippard as his primary setup man.
At age 34 it’s tough to imagine Soriano cashing in big on the open market, but even with the rough second half he finished with a 3.19 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 62 innings overall this season. And during the past three seasons combined he has a 2.84 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 196 innings.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.