Rafael Soriano opts out of final year of deal

Reliever takes $1.5M buyout, will become a free agent
10/31/2012 3:13 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Rafael Soriano had 42 saves and a 2.26 ERA for the Yankees in 2012.(AP)
New York Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano has opted out of the final year of his contract and elected to become a free agent, the team announced Wednesday.

Soriano had signed a three-year, $35 million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2011 season, but the contract contained a clause that allowed him to opt out after either of the first two years; in doing so now, Soriano will take a $1.5 million buyout to forego the final year, which would have paid him $14 million in 2013 had he stayed.

The 32-year-old righty had a stellar season in 2012, going 2-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances and notching 42 saves after replacing the injured Mariano Rivera as Yankees closer in May.

According to the Daily News, Yankees president Randy Levine greeted the opt-out decision with a challenge to Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, telling the paper that “Boras has told the player and us that he can get him $15-$16 million a year for four years … we'd love to have (Soriano) back, but I hope he holds Scott accountable if he doesn't get that."

The Yankees still hold exclusive rights to negotiate with Soriano for the time being, and are expected to make him a qualifying offer of about $13.3 million in order to get a compensatory draft pick if he does sign elsewhere.

For his career, Soriano is 15-24 with a 2.78 ERA and 132 saves in 11 seasons with the Mariners, Braves, Rays, and Yankees.

Two other Yankees roster notes from Wednesday: infielder Casey McGehee, who hit .151 in 22 games with the Yankees after being acquired at the trade deadline, has elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright Minor League assignment, and RHP Brad Meyers, who was selected from Washington in last winter’s Rule 5 Draft but spent the entire season on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, was returned to the Nationals organization.

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