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Monday, January 3, 2011
White Sox-Rafael Soriano rumors persist

By Doug Padilla

Soriano
The White Sox may be tapped out financially, but Rafael Soriano remains an intriguing possibility.
Despite being out of cash, or over budget (however you prefer to look at it), the White Sox continue to get mentioned in rumors about free agent closer Rafael Soriano.

One of the latest came Saturday from Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, who said there continues to be interest in a Soriano-Ozzie Guillen pairing.

Looking at it from that angle, Guillen certainly has interest in somebody like Soriano taking over the White Sox’s closer role. Except the real interest – or more importantly, the real commitment – must come from chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, general manager Kenny Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn.

If Soriano continues to remain available, though, the White Sox might get that itchy trigger finger to make something happen. Williams might be a fitness freak, but his personality (and track record as a roster builder) seems to suggest that if a piece of cake is left on the counter long enough, he is bound to take a bite.

The White Sox already are on the hook for at least $120 million in roster commitments, and could be close to matching the highest payroll ever for a season ($121 million in 2008). Adding Soriano would definitely take them into new financial world. The 31-year-old Soriano made $7.25 million last season and will get a healthy raise on that for 2011.

At the start of a new year, adding Soriano still seems like wishful thinking. But if the big right-hander, who saved 45 games for the Rays last season, is still available by the end of the month, perhaps Williams won’t be able to resist grabbing a fork, getting a glass of milk and pulling up a chair to indulge his sweet tooth.