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25 Chasing 28 - the New York Yankees Roster & Rafael Soriano

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Name: Rafael Soriano

Date of Birth: 12/19/1979

Contract Status: Does anybody seriously NOT know his contract status?

2010 Stats: 64 games, 45 saves, 1.73 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 1.6 WAR

2010 In Review: Soriano posted his second consecutive healthy and dominant season, solidifying the Rays bullpen and ranking as the 16th most valuable reliever in all of baseball per WAR. Few relievers in baseball were more effective, and Soriano parlayed that into a nice payday from the Steinbrenners.

The Good: When he's healthy, Soriano is a good bet for 60 innings of Top-20 quality relief work.

The Bad: He's not always healthy, and has missed significant time in three of his nine seasons.  Soriano also benefited from a good deal of luck in 2010, and he's unlikely to repeat the .199 BABIP and the HR/FB rate that was under 5%. None of this is to say that he's not a good pitcher, I'm just not sure where the expectation level should be set.

2011 Outlook: Soriano will be the Yankees 8th inning guy and should form a pretty potent combo with Mariano Rivera, at least in games where the Yankees hold a lead at that point in the game.  Unfortunately, his performance this year will probably determine how much longer he stays in pinstripes, and not in a good way. That's the downside of player opt-out clauses.