The Dodgers May or May Not Be Interested in Rafael Soriano, & Here’s How They Can Get Him

rafael_soriano_throws_yankeesBuster Olney stirs the pot:

That’s not really “news” so much as it is an acknowledgment of what’s been happening behind the scenes all winter, with Jim Bowden single-handedly creating and quashing the rumor back in December. I heard through the grapevine that the Dodgers actually requested Soriano’s medial records a few weeks ago, though it’s unclear if that was just due diligence that they’d do on anyone they were discussing, if they didn’t like what they saw and backed away, or if they just stalled on contract negotiations.

That makes me think that Olney’s 20% figure is actually pretty close, because while I think the Dodgers have considered it, I don’t think it’s all that likely that they end up with him. Still, it’s fun to think about, because Soriano, who turned 33 last month, would be quite the addition to any bullpen. Using almost exclusively a fastball and slider, Soriano has a 527/160 K/BB in 502 innings over 11 big league seasons, including three of the last four (2009/ATL, 2010/TB, 2012/NYY) spent as a closer. He’s not getting younger, but it’s hard to argue against a career 2.78 ERA / 3.30 FIP, and the thought of a strikeout arm like that alongside Brandon League & Kenley Jansen & Ronald Belisario & J.P. Howell is just beyond tantalizing, to the point where the Dodgers would have one of the unquestioned best bullpens in the league.

So what’s the downside here? Well, Soriano opted out of his $14m option with the Yankees, then declined a $13.3 qualifying offer. That’s right, not only does he want massive dollars, he stands along with Michael Bourn & Kyle Lohse as one of three remaining free agents who will require a first-round pick — and all three have been connected to the Dodgers with varying levels of veracity. Even if I wanted to pay Soriano that kind of cash — which I don’t — the added kicker of losing a first-round pick makes it untenable in my eyes.

And yet… this team is built to win in 2013, and I can’t argue that Soriano makes that more likely. If we split the difference between “Soriano isn’t going to get the deal Scott Boras thinks he is” and “the Dodgers don’t seem to care about money”, what do you end up with? Two years, $22m? Maybe with a player option for a third? You can rationalize ways to get around the money, I suppose, but I can’t deal with giving up the pick.

…unless you don’t have to. What if the Dodgers worked out a “sign-and-trade” with a team without such a risk at stake? That’d be a club which either has a protected first-round pick (Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Twins, Indians, Marlins, Red Sox, Royals, Pirates and Blue Jays) or a team like the Angels who already lost their pick for signing a tendered free agent. In Cleveland’s case, since they lost their second-round pick for signing Nick Swisher, it’d actually be only their third-round pick.

The idea here is that another team would sign Soriano (or Lohse, or Bourn, though due to the overstuffed rotation and presence of Andre Ethier, they’re exceptionally less likely) to a deal that the Dodgers find acceptable, then immediately trade him to the Dodgers for some sort of return that compensates them for the lost pick. There’s several obvious fits there, because we all know the Dodgers are trading Chris Capuano and/or Aaron Harang, and it’s not hard to see one of those clubs preferring ~180 decent innings in 2013 for the who-knows-what a pick that isn’t even in the first round might bring down the road. While it’s true that newly-signed free agents can’t be traded before June 15, they do have the right to waive that restriction, and so it’s win / win / win. The Dodgers add to the team without losing their first pick. Soriano gets to negotiate with additional teams without having that pick hanging over his head. The trading partner gets some value out of a process that they otherwise would have had nothing to do with.

There are of course various schools of thought on whether a sign-and-trade is even legal under baseball’s rules, though the prevailing feeling seems to be that baseball would not prevent a deal that benefits all sides unless it was especially egregious. (Soriano himself was in a similar situation a few years ago, when he surprised Atlanta by accepting an arbitration offer that they had no intention of honoring, then immediately was traded to Tampa.)

Again, this is really unlikely to happen, and there’s a good argument to be made that it shouldn’t. Still, if money really is no option, and the team wants to do everything it can to improve in 2013… Soriano in the bullpen is an intriguing option.

******

Unrelated: the Dodgers have apparently made an offer to nearly 36-year-old Dennys Reyes, who debuted in the bigs with 25 games for the 1997-98 Dodgers before being included in the Paul Konerko deal. He’s been on ten other teams in the 14 seasons since. He didn’t pitch in the bigs in 2012 and the offer is presumably a non-roster invite; though he has offers from Toronto & Baltimore as well, he seemingly prefers to return to Los Angeles, so that may be imminent.

130 comments
Lobo
Lobo

New post.

Vindicated
Vindicated

Soooooooo to be clear, they only requested his medial records, not the lateral ones?

Lobo
Lobo

Anyone else here a big fan of animation?

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @DeucesWild my new car is messed up, and I got into a shouting match with a nurse at work. 

 

#firstworldproblems

Lobo
Lobo

 @DeucesWild If you want to talk about it sure but I've never seen it and was referring more to films.

Lobo
Lobo

 @EephusBlue What are some of your favorite animated movies?  I've been watching some reading/watching some "Best of Animated Movies" lists and I'm curious to see what other people think.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @DeucesWild went to check the fluid, but apparently they hide it on this model to prevent people from trying to change it themselves. what's so maddening is that it doesn't do it all the time, which makes me wonder if it's a sensor or computer issue, not the transmission itself. 

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @The_Real_Paul  Do you have any buddy mechanics? If it's just kind of slipping like you described, that could be a somewhat easy fix. When it jerks into gear or you hear grinding, that's bad. Check your fluid levels, too. If you see any red fluid leaking, that's the transmission

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @LA_Woman  @DeucesWild Talked to the dealer today. My contract didn't include a warranty and there's no cooling off period in California. They said they'd be willing to apply the value of the car toward the purchase of another one, but I'd have to eat the tax/title/license fees, which are about a thousand dollar, plus about 1500 in "depreciation", as well as the difference in cost of another car, where I would have no negotiation leverage. I seriously thought about it, even test drove a couple cars, but I think I'm gonna have to just swallow hard and make the repair.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @DeucesWild The best way to describe it is it almost feels like somebody is shifting a manual transmission even though it's an automatic. Like it kind of hesitates. It's definitely not a grinding feeling. It's also on a VW, so basically double whatever the standard repair cost is. 

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @The_Real_Paul Oh yeah, transmission problems are a bitch. Those and any kind of problems with the heads. Hopefully you just need a new gasket or something. Does it just slip or jerk and grind (TWSS)?

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

I should clarify, I bought it used. But I've put less than 300 miles on it, and it's already shifting strange. It doesn't do it every time, and it's usually only from 1 to 2, but it'll still probably be at least a $3,000 repair. I guess that's the risk you take. 

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @The_Real_Paul What happened to your car? A while back I bought a brand new Dodge Ram Laramie, top of the line, and within a week the driver's door wouldn't unlock and the cd's were stuck. I was super pissed until they fixed everything for free and gave me money back

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

 @Lobo  Haha I was being sarcastic. Damn sarcasm doesn't always translate well through type

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @Lobo  @Antonio_G  @EephusBlue That's how I feel about Japanese film in general. Every frame that Kurosawa, in particular, shoots is a masterpiece. But also Kobayashi, Ozu, Ichikawa, Mizoguchi... and I'm sure I've left some out.

 

Lobo
Lobo

 @Antonio_G  @LA_Woman  @EephusBlue While I love Pixar and Disney's art styles nothing will ever top the look of Japanese anime films for me, particularly the Ghibli films.  There's just such incredible detail put into the hand drawn frames.  There's a shot in Princess Mononoke that's one of my favorites, it's just a shot of some leaves with morning dew on them.  It's not necessary to further the film but it sets up the atmosphere of the next scene perfectly and is just so goddam beautiful to behold.

Lobo
Lobo

 @Antonio_G  @LA_Woman  @EephusBlue And while you're at it, check out Millennium Actress which is in my top 10 favorite films.  It's only in Japanese with English subtitles but it is deeply moving and utterly beautiful.

Lobo
Lobo

 @Antonio_G  @LA_Woman  @EephusBlue Also, have you seen Whisper of the Heart?  It's a non-Miyazaki Studio Ghibli film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo that is incredibly beautiful, it's my favorite Ghibli film after Spirited Away.

Lobo
Lobo

 @LA_Woman  @Antonio_G  @EephusBlue What else of his have you seen?  I've seen every film he's directed and my personal favorites are Spirited Away, (duh), Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and The Castle of Cagliostro but I still love all his other films except maybe Nausicaa which is good but not great.

Lobo
Lobo

 @Antonio_G  @EephusBlue You just gave the magic answer sir.  That's not only my favorite animated film but my favorite film period.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @IBBFTW well some stuff may be developing soon. Not anything really big tho

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@EephusBlue @Bob Meripol Aburido :--------(