Braves trade reliever Soriano to Rays
Atlanta to receive righty Chavez; deal is pending physicals
INDIANAPOLIS -- It appears that Braves general manager Frank Wren will be able to exit this year's Winter Meetings on Thursday without having to spend any more time focusing on trading Rafael Soriano.
The Braves agreed on Wednesday to trade Soriano to the Rays, a Major League source said. Pending medical evaluations, the deal could be announced as soon as Thursday.
Before Soriano provided some surprise by accepting an arbitration offer on Monday, Wren envisioned receiving the 2010 First-Year Player Draft pick compensation that would come courtesy of the fact that the 29-year-old reliever was classified as a Type A free agent.
Now, it appears that the Braves will have to settle for a reliever who could at least provide some organizational depth. Atlanta will receive Jesse Chavez, a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher who was acquired by Tampa Bay in an early-November trade that sent infielder Akinori Iwamura to Pittsburgh.
In a team-high 73 appearances for the Pirates this past season, Chavez posted a 4.01 ERA, recorded 47 strikeouts, issued 22 walks and allowed opponents to compile a .264 batting average.
Most of Chavez's damage was incurred when he posted a 5.10 ERA and allowed opponents a .333 on-base percentage in his final 30 appearances.
Soriano, who will likely serve as the Rays' closer, will make at least $6.5 million via the non-guaranteed one-year contract he secured when he accepted arbitration and erased the possibility for the Braves to gain two Draft picks with his departure.
This past season, Soriano converted 27 out of 31 save opportunities, limited opponents to a .194 batting average and registered a 12.13 strikeouts-per-nine innings mark.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.