New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano opted out of the final year of his contract after saving 42 games last season in place of the injured Mariano Rivera, MLB.com said yesterday.
Soriano, 32, would have received $14 million in 2013, the website reported without saying where it got the information. The right-handed pitcher instead activated a $1.5 million buyout from the team, according to the report.
Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the report.
Soriano’s 42 saves this season were third in the American League behind Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles, who had 51, and Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays, who had 48. He stepped into the closer role when Rivera sustained a season- ending knee injury in May, and finished the year 2-1 with a 2.26 earned run average and 69 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings.
Rivera, 42, is a free agent after making $15 million last season. The 12-time All-Star has been the team’s closer since 1997, and won World Series titles with the Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. He has a Major League Baseball-record 608 saves.
The Yankees may offer Soriano a qualifying one-year contract of $13.3 million prior to the Nov. 2 deadline, which would allow New York draft compensation should he sign elsewhere, according to MLB.com. Soriano would have until Nov. 9 to accept the offer or decline and explore free agency.
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