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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


It’s official: Yankees sign Soriano

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Jan 18, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Apparently Rafael Soriano is in good health and, with his physical out of the way, the Yankees will introduce him at a press conference tomorrow morning.

Here’s the official release:

The New York Yankees today announced they have signed 2010 All-Star right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano to a three-year contract.

Soriano, 31, led the American League with a career-high 45 saves in 2010, going 3-2 with a 1.73 ERA (62.1IP, 12ER), 57 strikeouts and a .163 opponents batting average for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He became only the fourth pitcher in Major League history to reach those totals for saves, ERA and opponents average in a single season, joining Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1990, Los Angeles-NL’s Eric Gagne in 2003 and Florida’s Armando Benitez in 2004.

His 45 saves were the third-most in the Majors behind San Francisco’s Brian Wilson (48) and San Diego’s Heath Bell (47), while his 93.8 save conversion rate (45-of-48) led the AL and ranked second in the Majors behind Bell (94.0).  Among American League relievers, he ranked second in opponents batting average and third in ERA. Soriano also received consideration for the AL Cy Young Award, placing eighth in the voting – the highest finish by a reliever in 2010 AL balloting.

Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent in 1996, Soriano has made 342 Major League appearances (eight starts) over nine seasons with the Mariners (2002-06), Braves (2007-09) and Rays (2010), going 11-20 with 88 saves (in 105 chances), a 2.73 ERA (395.0IP, 120ER) and 422 strikeouts.

A native of San Jose, Dominican Republic, Soriano has limited opponents to a .185 batting average in his career as a reliever, the second-lowest mark among all active Major League relievers with at least 1,200 batters faced behind only Carlos Marmol (.158). Right-handed batters have hit just .162 (124-for-767) against Soriano in his career, marking the lowest such average among all active pitchers (minimum 500 batters faced).

Over the last two seasons, in which he has served primarily as a closer, Soriano has allowed the seventh-lowest opponents batting average (.180), the seventh-fewest baserunners/9.0IP (8.61) and struck out the ninth-most batters (159) among all Major League relievers.

The Yankees roster now stands at 40.

* That’s an AP shot of Soriano.

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