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Rafael Soriano expected to opt out of Yankees deal Wednesday

Update: Soriano excercised his $1.5 million opt-out clause, the Yankees announced Wednesday.

Rafael Soriano will opt out of the final year of his Yankees contract Wednesday, but that doesn't mean it's the end of his Yankees career.

Assuming Soriano does opt out, as has been expected for several weeks, the Yankees will counter by making him the $13.3-million qualifying offer by Friday's deadline, setting the stage for what could be an interesting multiyear negotiation.

Soriano's current three-year, $35-million contract calls for him to make $14 million in 2013, but if he opts out, he gets $1.5 million, which combined with the $13.3-million qualifying offer would guarantee him at least $14.8 million. So that would be an $800,000 raise.

However, Soriano is believed to be seeking a four-year deal after saving 42 of 45 games and going 2-1 with a 2.26 ERA, so the likelihood of him accepting the qualifying offer also seems slim. With Mariano Rivera mulling retirement, the Yankees are likely willing to give him a two-year deal.

Of course, there's a big gap between two and four years. However, there's reason for both sides to want to find a way to work it it out, somehow.

Soriano fit better with the Yankees this year after he took over the closer role following Rivera's season-ending knee surgery. Rivera is said to have been a positive influence on Soriano, who's been seen as aloof in previous stops.

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