Rafael Soriano appears poised to leave the New York Yankees, and Ervin Santana is headed to Kansas City.
Soriano opted out of the final year of his $35 million, three-year contract Wednesday and will likely seek a long-term deal in free agency. The right-hander had 42 saves for the Yankees last season after longtime closer Mariano Rivera tore knee ligaments in early May.
Soriano was set to make $14 million next season and had until Wednesday to opt out. Instead, New York will pay him a $1.5 million buyout. The Yankees can make him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million before Friday’s 11:59 p.m. EDT deadline and if Soriano signs with another team, they will get draft compensation.
Soriano, who will be 33 in December, signed his hefty contract with New York before the 2011 season after notching a career-high 45 saves with Tampa Bay. He began his stint with the Yankees as a setup man, then took over as closer when Rivera was injured.
The Kansas City Royals made their first move toward shoring up their shaky rotation, acquiring Santana from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk.
Santana was an All-Star in 2008 and threw a no-hitter in 2011, but struggled with the long ball this year. He allowed a major league-worst 39 homers and went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA.
The Royals, however, declined their $8 million club option on closer Joakim Soria after he had elbow ligament-replacement surgery and missed last season.
Clearing the bases
David Wright and R.A. Dickey had their contract options picked up by the New York Mets. … The Baltimore Orioles exercised their option on reliever Luis Ayala but declined an option on first baseman Mark Reynolds. … The Cleveland Indians exercised their option on pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Cleveland declined its options on designated hitter Travis Hafner and starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona. … The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up their option on 25-year-old Pedro Alvarez and released catcher Rod Barajas and reliever Hisanori Takahashi. … The Toronto Blue Jays exercised their option on reliever Darren Oliver and signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-yearcontract. … Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick has become a free agent after declining his contract option. … The Tampa Bay Rays exercised contract options on pitcher James Shields, closer Fernando Rodney and catcher Jose Molina but declined its option of Luke Scott. … A person familiar with the Miami Marlins’ managerial search says former Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon has interviewed for the job. … New Indians manager Terry Francona is keeping Sandy Alomar as his bench coach.