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Last night, word broke that the Yankees had reached a contract agreement with Rafael Soriano on a three-year, $35 million deal. The contract will pay Soriano $11.5 million in 2011 to be the Yankees set-up man.Combined with Mariano Rivera’s $15.0 million salary this season, the Yankees will be paying $26.5 million this season for their eighth and ninth inning pitchers.
That is a lot of money for two relievers.
But it doesn’t get crazy until we look at the bullpen as a whole. If the Yankees start the season with the players currently on the roster, the team is projected to pay their seven relief pitchers a combined total of about $38.5 million (data via Cot’s Contracts).
Yes, the Yankees will be paying their bullpen more than the 2010 opening day payrolls of the Padres ($37.8M) and the Pirates ($34.9M). It is also $3.1 million more than the defending AL East Champions Tampa Bay Rays, have committed to their entire 2011 roster ($35.4M).
Some want to say the Red Sox off-season spending makes them The Second Evil Empire. But until the Red Sox spend an entire roster’s worth of money on seven relief pitchers, they will always be second-fiddle to the Yankees spending habits.