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Nationals Sign Rafael Soriano, a Powerful Closer

Rafael Soriano, one of the most versatile closers in baseball, made the young and dangerous Washington Nationals more lethal by signing a two-year, $28-million contract with the reigning NL East champion.

The agreement is pending a physical, according to the Associated Press.

A source told AP that the deal contains a $14 million option for 2015 that would become guaranteed if Soriano reaches 120 games finished over 2013 and 2014 combined.

Soriano, who turned 33 in December, had 42 saves last year with the New York Yankees, stepping in for injured Mariano Rivera. Soriano would join a Nationals bullpen that already includes Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, who were among a group that closed games for them last season. Yahoo Sports first reported the Soriano-Nationals negotiations.

A one-time All-Star, Soriano had a 2.26 ERA for the Yankees. In October, he declined a $14 million option for 2013, taking a $1.5 million buyout from the Yankees to enter free agency.

As compensation for Soriano, Washington will lose its first-round draft pick in this year’s amateur draft, while the Yankees will gain an extra pick after the first round.

The righty signed his old contract with the Yankees after saving a career-high 45 games for Tampa Bay in 2010. Soriano began his tenure in New York as a setup man, and ended up getting the bulk of his work in the seventh inning in 2011. But he wound up taking over as the closer after Rivera was hurt.


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