Rafael Soriano's value takes a big hit

Updated: January 14, 2011, 4:00 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
Defending American League saves leader and coveted free agent Rafael Soriano chose the potential for championships over the glory of saves, agreeing to a three-year deal with the New York Yankees late Thursday. While Soriano, certainly well-compensated as a setup man, should thrive in the role for arguably the greatest closer in big league history -- some dude named Mariano Rivera -- those holding Soriano in a keeper Roto league cannot be pleased. A healthy portion of his fantasy value no longer exists.

There are bigger tragedies, of course, than Soriano getting no more than a few saves in 2011 or 2012, while Rivera still dominates hitters. Frankly, there's little reason to expect Rivera to decline; his 2010 campaign was among his best. If anything, getting a reliable eighth-inning pitcher -- sorry, Joba Chamberlain, you and that 4.40 ERA weren't it -- could help Rivera get a few more save chances. If the Yankees scored fewer runs and didn't win so many games by 8-3 scores, that would help, too. Ultimately, Soriano is not a threat to Rivera. Sure, the old man will rarely be asked to get more than three outs at a time for his saves, and we could see him getting rested a tad more than normal. But I do expect at least 35 saves and major value.