Braves plan to move Soriano, who re-signed for $9 million, to closer

Updated: January 24, 2008, 7:00 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano and the Atlanta Braves agreed Thursday to a
$9 million, two-year contract that avoided arbitration.

Rafael Soriano


The Braves plan to make Soriano their closer this season. He went 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and nine saves in a career-high 71 appearances last year, holding opponents to a .181 batting average.

The right-hander would have been eligible for free agency after the 2008 season.

"We are very excited to be able to keep Rafael for two more seasons," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. "Rafael was an important part of our bullpen last year, and based on his performance over the last two seasons, he will now have an even more important role for us in 2008 as our closer."

Soriano was acquired in a December 2006 trade with Seattle for left-hander Horacio Ramirez.

When arbitration figures were exchanged last week, Soriano asked for $3.4 million and the Braves offered $2.4 million. He made $1.3 million last season.

The Braves have agreed to contracts with all six of their players who filed for arbitration.

Soriano gets salaries of $2.4 million this year and $6.1 million in 2009, plus a $500,000 signing bonus.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press