DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Rafael Soriano era in Toronto has come to an end before it ever really began as the veteran reliever has decided to officially retire.
Speculation of Soriano's retirement came earlier this week, but a statement issued through the club's communications department Saturday put an end to whatever doubt remained.
Soriano issued an open letter to thank the seven teams he was a part of over a career that spanned 14 years in the big leagues. The veteran reliever initially signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays last month but never ended up reporting to Spring Training.
"I have decided to retire from the game I love," Soriano wrote in the statement. "I want to take this opportunity to thank the front office staffs, scouts, coaches, and trainers from the Mariners, Braves, Rays, Yankees, Nationals, Cubs, and Blue Jays for believing in me and helping me to live out my dream; without you my career would not have been possible."
Soriano had not pitched a full season in the big leagues since 2014 when he posted a 3.19 ERA with 32 saves in 64 games for the Nationals. During his career, Soriano had 207 saves with a 2.89 ERA, and there was a time when he was considered one of the game's best closers.
The career year for Soriano came in 2010 when he was named to the All-Star team and led the Majors with 45 saves for the Rays. It was the first of three times that Soriano finished with at least 42 saves, and overall he appeared in games for the Mariners, Braves, Rays, Yankees, Nationals and Cubs.
"I took my role with each team very seriously and always had a great amount of pride in being a professional athlete," Soriano wrote. "I prepared myself mentally and physically to be the best I could be. I also want to thank my former teammates for accepting and supporting me as a brother, playing alongside you all was an honor. Lastly, I want to thank the fans who supported and motivated me every day, I gave you my all.
"I look forward to this next chapter in my life and hope to continue to be involved in baseball in some capacity in the future."
Soriano technically would have been competing for a spot in Toronto's bullpen, but his path to the big leagues would not have been easy. The Blue Jays appear set in late-inning relief with Drew Storen, Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil, and it's still possible Aaron Sanchez also could end up in a relief role.
The Blue Jays also want to add a second lefty to the bullpen, and they need a couple of relievers with the ability to throw multiple innings. That seemed to eliminate any chance of Soriano cracking the big-league roster, but in the end the Dominican native decided he didn't want to give it another shot.