RHP Rafael Soriano and Braves Agree to $9 million, 2-year deal

ATLANTA (AP) - Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano and the Atlanta Braves agreed today to a nine million dollar, two-year contract that avoided arbitration.

The Braves plan to make Soriano their closer this season. He went 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and nine saves in a career-high 71 appearances last year, holding opponents to a .181 batting average.

The right-hander would have been eligible for free agency after the 2008 season.

Soriano was acquired in a December 2006 trade with Seattle for left-hander Horacio Ramirez.

When arbitration figures were exchanged last week, Soriano asked for 3.4 million and the Braves offered 2.4 million. He made 1.3 million dollars last season.

The Braves have agreed to contracts with all six of their players who filed for arbitration.

Soriano gets salaries of 2.4 million dollars this year and 6.1 million in 2009, plus a $500,000 signing bonus.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)