December 10, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves, acquiring right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano and signing the reliever to a $7.25 million, one-year contract.

The deal Friday sends right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Braves, who considered Soriano expendable after recently signing free agent relievers Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito.

The Rays were searching for bullpen help after the lack of a proven closer contributed to the 2008 AL champions not getting back to the playoffs this year.

With several pitchers sharing the role, Tampa Bay wound up with 22 blown saves -- eighth most in the major leagues.

Soriano had a career-best 27 saves in 31 opportunities for the Braves last season. In 75 2-3 innings, he struck out 102 while walking 27.

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