Finally The Rays Have A Real Closer

By Dustin Staggers

After two years of being highly competitive in the AL East, one of which saw the Rays go to a World Series despite not having a real option at the end of games, the Rays have acquired a bonafide closer.  The Rays acquired Rafael Soriano last night for pitcher Jesse Chavez, who was acquired in the Akinori Iwamura trade.  The Rays essentially flipped Aki for Rafael Soriano.

Chavez would have been a player the Rays were willing to use late in games, if he earned that role in spring. Soriano though, is definitely going to be entrenched as the starter from day 1. I love it because Soriano has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time. He has a live arm with a lot of action and velocity. His numbers last season for the Braves were quite impressive, and if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be one of the premier closers in the game.

The stat that stands out is the 102 K’s in 75 IP, with a 3.78 K/BB ratio. Soriano teamed up with JP Howell and whoever else the Rays can acquire this offseason is a much more formidable line of defense at the end of games. Kudos to Andrew Friedman going after a player who fills the biggest hole for the Rays, and doesn’t alter our longterm payroll flexibility. Also thanks to Rafael Soriano for taking that abitration offer from the Braves unexpectedly because it forced the Braves to move him, and allowed a team like the Rays who wouldn’t have had the ability to sign him to a long term deal to be involved because of the 1 year contract.