Locking in the Closer

Written by Colin on January 25, 2008 – 11:44 am

The Braves took a step Thursday to solidify the back end of their bullpen when they signed Rafael Soriano to a two year, $8.5 million contract.  Soriano is expected to close games this year for the Braves, who have been searching for a stable closer since John Smoltz returned to the starting rotation.

Soriano had a 3.00 ERA in 71 appearances and 70 innings this year, with a career high 72 strikeouts.  Despite a slump mid-year, he returned to form at the end of the season and converted 9 out of 12 save opportunities.

The Braves hope that Soriano is a more stable answer to a closer position that has been perplexed at best in the past few years.  Bob “Bring me a beer between batters so I can get through the inning” Wickman was frustrating at his best and infuriating at his worst.  Octavio Dotel worked for the small price we gave up for the end of the season, but he signed a two-year deal worth $11 million with the White Sox – too expensive for the return, in my opinion.  Soriano is certainly the best option I see in our current pen and more affordable than someone like Mariano Rivera (3 years, $45 million?!?).

I’ll cross my fingers and hope this works out for the best – I like Soriano, and I appear to agree with him on the weather as well.

Wren said of Soriano: “He’s excited — his only complaint was that it’s a little cold.”


Posted in Roster Moves | 2 Comments »


2 Responses to “Locking in the Closer”

  1. By Jonathan on Jan 25, 2008 | Reply

    I look forward to seeing how Soriano pans out at the closer position. I think everyone pretty much agrees and has agreed that the role is his to fill so we’ll see how it goes. A stable closer is one thing that we have definitely been lacking and need to be able to rely upon.

    I echo those sentiments on Bob Wickman and have made no attempts to hide my joy that he left in the middle of last season. Yes, he was a force at home, but he never showed up on the road and just didn’t have the right attitude to be a Brave in my opinion.

  2. By Jonathan on Feb 2, 2009 | Reply

    I look forward to seeing how Soriano pans out at the closer position. I think everyone pretty much agrees and has agreed that the role is his to fill so we'll see how it goes. A stable closer is one thing that we have definitely been lacking and need to be able to rely upon.

    I echo those sentiments on Bob Wickman and have made no attempts to hide my joy that he left in the middle of last season. Yes, he was a force at home, but he never showed up on the road and just didn't have the right attitude to be a Brave in my opinion.

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