The New York Yankees might be in need of a closer after right-hander Rafael Soriano opted out of the final season of his three-year contract Wednesday.
The Yankees are still awaiting word from career saves leader Mariana Rivera, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, on whether he will retire.
Soriano's decision wasn't a surprise. He was expected to test the market as a free agent after he replaced Rivera in May and posted 42 saves in 46 opportunities with a 2.26 ERA.
Soriano was due $14 million next season as part of a three-year, $35 million contract. He will instead receive a $1.5 million buyout.
Rivera, who is a free agent, told the Yankees last week that he hasn't made a decision on whether to return. ESPN.com speculated that it's unlikely the team would attempt to re-sign Soriano if Rivera comes back.
But MLB.com reported that the Yankees could offer Soriano a one-year, $13.3 million contract before the Friday deadline to guarantee that they would receive draft compensation should Soriano go to another team. His agent, Scott Boras, indicated to MLB.com that Soriano would reject a qualifying offer because he is seeking a four-year contract.
Rivera, 43, made $15 million last season.
"I talked to Mariano and he is not sure what he's interested in doing just yet," general manager Brian Cashman said last week, according to MLB.com. "I think in spring training he was intending to retire at the end of the year, so I don't think he knows what he wants to do just yet."