The sting from the wrenching, bitter end of the
And so, less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Fla., Ted Lerner acted. On Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the situation, the Nationals agreed to terms with free-agent closer
The sides reached a two-year, $28million contract, which makes Soriano the highest-paid reliever in baseball during the 2013 season. The contract also includes a $14million option for 2015 that will vest if Soriano finishes 120 games combined over the next two seasons.
Lerner, one person familiar with the situation said, was directly involved in the negotiations that brought Soriano to Washington. He was surely motivated by the memory of the final game of last season, when the Nationals couldn't hold a six-run lead in Game 5 of the
The bullpen let the game slip away, slowly at first and then suddenly, when a two-run lead in the ninth inning evaporated. The Nationals added Soriano, 33, to a solid-but-not-great bullpen with the express intent of preventing another pivotal, late-game meltdown.
Last season, Soriano replaced the injured
Soriano's addition bolsters the back of a bullpen that already incumbent closer
Soriano will presumably enter the 2013 season as the clear-cut top choice at closer, but there will likely still be some save chances for Storen. Manager Davey Johnson believes in using an "A" and "B" closer to keep his best relievers healthy over a 162-game season.
As a presumptive favorite to win the World Series, the Nationals should have ample save opportunities and plenty of reason to keep the back of their bullpen fresh. Still, Storen and Clippard might have to adjust to lesser roles after dominating late-inning situations when healthy the past two seasons, and Johnson — a former