NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mariano Rivera has revealed that he will return for another season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Rafael Soriano has pitched his last game in pinstripes.
Soriano, who was brilliant in his role as closer in Rivera’s absence for the majority of the season, was extended a qualifying offer by the Bronx Bombers on Friday — a one-year, $13.3 million offer — and he has until Friday to accept it. If he declines it, he and the Yankees are still able to negotiate a free-agent contract.
The 10th-year player opted out of the final year of his three-year deal, and many have suggested that he is seeking a lucrative multi-year deal to close for a new club.
“I can only say the Yankees told us they were interested in signing Soriano while expecting Rivera to come back,” agent Scott Boras told the New York Post.
If Soriano is to return to the Bronx, he will surely give up his closer role to the legendary Rivera. But still, Boras is confident that the Yankees will be willing to spend to keep Soriano in their bullpen.
“It was a correct decision two years ago to sign Soriano to provide depth, and Mariano was younger,” Boras said. “Soriano saved (42) games and Mariano is two years older. It was a wise move then and a wiser move now.”
The 32-year-old saved 42 games and posted a 2.26 ERA for New York in 2012.
Moving 60 feet and 6 inches along, the New York Daily News has reported that the Yankees have had discussions with Russell Martin’s agent about bringing the free-agent catcher back to the Bronx.
“We’ve had some initial conversations and they’ve expressed interest in bringing him back, but nothing substantial to date other than that,” Matt Colleran, Martin’s rep, told the New York Daily News. “The organization, he loves it — working with the staff, manager, coaches and players. It was all very positive. We’ll see what happens as we move along here.”
Martin, who will be 30 in January, earned $7.5 million last season. He batted just .211 for New York in 2012 but belted 21 home runs and had a knack for the big hit. He also drove in 53 runs, walked 53 times and drilled 18 doubles.
“He had a rough first half, but he battled his way to get out of it,” Colleran said. “Based on his career, the player you saw (in) the second half is more indicative of the player he is.”
The three-time All-Star hit just .179 with eight home runs in the first half of the season but found his way in the second half, batting .242 with 13 home runs.
“(He’s) the kind of guy and player who embraces all the things New York has to offer, and the rivalries, too,” Colleran said. “He’s the type of guy who feeds off that. And that’s good, especially for a catcher, a guy viewed as a leader. He doesn’t really shy away from anything.”
Soriano and Martin will cost a good chunk of change this offseason. Do you want them back next season, Yankees fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…