Nationals sign right-hander Rafael Soriano to two-year contract

The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano on a two-year contract with an option for the 2015 season. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Soriano joins the Nationals after going 2-1 with 42 saves and a 2.29 ERA in 69 games for the Yankees last season. He spent the majority of ‘12 as the Yankees’ closer after Mariano Soriano’s season ended prematurely in early May (ACL injury in right knee).

Soriano struck out in excess of a batter per inning (9.2 per 9.0 innings), successfully stranded 16 of 19 inherited baserunners and posted a .217 batting average against for the AL East Champs in ‘12.

In 11 big league campaigns with the Yankees, Rays, Braves and Mariners, Soriano is 15-24 with 76 holds, 132 saves and a 2.78 ERA in 453 games/eight starts.

Soriano returns to the NL East, where from 2007-09 he posted 39 saves, 10.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a 2.95 ERA in 162 appearances with the Braves.

Soriano’s career batting average against of .199 ranks second among active pitchers to appear in more than 300 career games (Carlos Marmol, .182). Six times in 11 seasons, he has posted more than a strikeout per inning.

An American League All-Star in 2010 representing the Rays, Soriano has posted at least 40 saves twice in the last three seasons (AL-leading 45 in 2010, 42 in 2012). In Soriano’s first year with the Yankees in 2011, he pitched in front of Rivera and registered 23 holds for the 97-win Yankees.

Soriano is especially devastating on right-handed batters, as he has registered a .169 batting average against and a .280 opponents’ slugging percentage during his career.

Soriano and his clubs have reached the postseason each of the last three years and his resume includes nine games of postseason experience.