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Joakim Soria rumors: Righty willing to be set-up man for Yankees

Soria has also expressed a willingness to set-up for Mariano Rivera in New York.

Ed Zurga

Free agent right-hander Joakim Soria is garnering a lot of attention on the open market -- with at least eight teams expressing interest in the former Royals closer -- and would have no qualms about signing on in a set-up role for the New York Yankees, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

Soria, just 28, would like to close, but he would be willing to go to the Yankees to learn from his idol Mariano Rivera.

"If the Yankees call, we will be all ears," Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, said by phone Monday. "If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there."

Suarez said Yankees GM Brian Cashman has yet to inquire. Eight other clubs, all contending teams, have already contacted Suarez about Soria.

Coming off Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2012, Soria's $8 million club option was denied by the Royals last week, making him a free agent. The right-hander is expected to be throwing from a mound by Spring Training, but will not pitch in major league games until May or June.

Marchard speculates that Soria could provide the Yankees with insurance at the back-end of the bullpen and an option to succeed Mariano Rivera as closer at the end of 2013.