Thursday, October 12, 2006

Strike One For Soriano

The AP says that Alfonso Soriano has rejected the Nationals offer of a 5-year $70 million contract. Jose Rijo, who seems like he was doing some of the negotiations for the Nats while in the Dominican, says that it is "almost impossible this great player will stay on our payroll." Either that's a negotiating ploy, or the Nats are near the ceiling they've set for Soriano.

At that price, it's probably a good thing that he's likely to head elsewhere.

The team is in a delicate position. Soriano IS PR and does draw eyes to the team, but there is a limit to how much he deserves. In his weekly chat yesterday, Barry Svrluga reported that the Nationals would be willing to bump up the payroll a bit to retain Soriano, but to otherwise expect a freeze. That's reflective, I'd assume, of the price tag (extra tickets sold) a star can bring. But, in the end, it's a winning team that ultimately packs them in.

And with that gaping hole of three starting pitchers and just $27 million to spend, Soriano's price is too high.

So they're left in a position of getting rid of him in the most sensitive way possible. They've made a loud and public offer that's reasonable. But it's also one that they knew he'd turn down. Even if they go higher, it's likely that some other team will outbid them. And if they do go higher, it'd likely be with the knowledge that that would happen, allowing some appeasement to the fans. (The BPGers seem content so far) "Hey, we offered him a fair deal. He just made a business decision."

And so did they.

Now about those draft picks...


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