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soriano-to-accept-arb | December | 2009 Articles

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Soriano to accept arb?

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Jon Heyman of SI reports Rafael Soriano is leaning towards accepting arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports agrees, and mentions the Braves want to trade Lowe or Vazquez for a bat. Hello captain obvious. So what is this going to mean for the Braves? We can sum this up in a few points. First off, the bullpen next season is going to be flipping awesome. Wagner, Soriano, Saito, Moylan, Medlen, O'Flaherty, and then 2 spots for guys like Valdez, Logan, Acosta and Kawakami if a starter can't be traded. Now that is one hell of a bullpen. It also means that the Braves will be hamstrung a little bit with payroll. If Soriano does accept arb, he'll likely get between $8 and $9 million. Tack that on to the $10 that Wagner & Saito are getting, and you're up to around $18 million on 3 guys in the pen with a hole in the outfield and at first base to fill. If Soriano does accept, a starter absolutely positively must be traded unless Liberty is really opening up the pursestrings, which I doubt is happening. Another possible option is that the $8 million or so going to Soriano won't be used on either of the vacancies, and the Braves will have to fill the holes from within. That means something like Barbaro Canizares at first base, which is something I really don't want to see. It also means that Jason Heyward would likely get a shot at right field. It could also mean that Ryan Church getting nontendered might not be an option. Or maybe Gregor Blanco will get a shot to see if he can produce at the major league level like he is in the winter league right now. Personally, for the first base vacancy, I still like the plan I proposed a couple weeks ago. That plan consists of Kelly Johnson not getting nontendered and getting back his starting job at second, while Martin Prado starts at first. Doing this not only betters the defense, it also protects the Braves against something like giving the starting job to Canizares, and watching him completely fall apart and not produce. Johnson has proven he can hit at the major league level if given time to get out of his slumps, and Prado showed us last year that he may be more than a flash in the pan. There really are a lot of things that can happen, and we'll learn a little more about whats going to go down tomorrow when we find out if Soriano is going to accept his arbitration offer or not.

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