Nats sign reliever Rafael Soriano (another update)

Another Scott Boras client is coming to the nation’s capital.

The Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal with a vesting option for a third year, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Update: A source confirms the report. The terms listed above are accurate.

Soriano’s third-year option, worth $14 million, vests if he finishes 120 games over the next two seasons.

By signing Soriano, 33, the Nationals will forfeit their first-round pick (No. 29 overall) in this year’s First-Year Player Draft and the bonus pool money that accompanies it. The draft pick is lost because the Yankees offered Soriano a qualifying offer, which he declined.

This flies in the face of the usual strategy of general manager Mike Rizzo, who places heavy weight on building a team by drafting and developing young talent.

Soriano, however, gives the Nats another proven right-handed option in the late innings. He saved 42 games with the Yankees last season after taking over for the injured Mariano Rivera, posting a 2.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

This deal is clearly a win-now type of move for Rizzo, whose team finished the regular season with the best record in baseball and was one strike from advancing to the National League Championship Series only to watch Drew Storen blow a save in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

Teams don’t typically hand out two-year, $28 million contracts to set-up men, so this deal seems to at the very least put the Nationals’ closer job up for grabs between Soriano and Storen. More than likely, the job is Soriano’s to lose.

Regardless, with Tyler Clippard, Storen and Soriano now in line to work the late innings, the Nats have as formidable a back-of-the-bullpen trio as nearly any team in baseball.

The Nats don’t have a late-inning left-handed reliever on their 40-man roster, but Clippard excels against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .170 batting average last season. He can now become manager Davey Johnson’s preferred option against tough left-handed hitters late in games.

Rizzo could also go another direction and look to trade either Storen or Clippard, both of whom are eligible for arbitration.

Any way you look at it, the Soriano addition is a stunning move for a team which has clearly isn’t resting after putting up 98 wins last season.

Update II: Never mind that Soriano stuff, I’ve got minor league signings and invitations to big league spring training to report.

The Nationals have officially announced the previously reported minor league signings of left-handed pitchers Fernando Abad, Bill Bray and Brandon Mann, right-handed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and infielder Will Rhymes.

All five have been invited to major league spring training, as have five Nats minor leaguers. Those five are left-handed pitcher Pat McCoy, right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark, catcher Carlos Maldonado, first baseman/third baseman Matt Skole and infielder Zach Walters.

Update III: Seven Nationals filed for salary arbitration today, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Roger Bernadina, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann all submitted their arbitration paperwork to the league office, a formality which gets the ball rolling towards contract negotiations between the players and the Nationals.

Each side has until Friday to submit salary figures and if a deal cannot be reached, the process will be handled through arbitration hearings.

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