Rafael Soriano may have accepted arbitration from the Braves, but that may not have ended Baltimore’s pursuit of the late-inning reliever. Soriano has reportedly given the Braves written permission to trade him, and Atlanta may be inclined to grant him his wish.
The Braves signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito before the Winter Meetings began, giving them less room in the bullpen and less financial wherewithal to keep another reliever. And Soriano, gauging the market, figured he might be better served to accept arbitration.
Where does that leave the Orioles? Baltimore had been interested in Soriano as a potential free agent addition and wasn’t deterred by the fact that signing him would cost them a second-round draft pick. Now, that draft pick is no longer part of the equation.
The hurdle remaining is whether the Orioles can entice the Braves to deal Soriano. The veteran will likely receive a hefty raise next year, and the Orioles are well positioned to absorb the price. The question, of course, is what it will cost in terms of a potential return and whether they can find a comparable reliever for free on the open market.
— Spencer Fordin