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Of all the trades made so far this offseason, the one that is frequently held up as the best is the Braves’ acquisition of RP Rafael Soriano for SP Horacio Ramirez.

Almost everybody thinks the Mariners got screwed on this deal. Why would the team give up one of the best set-up men in the game for a spotty starter?

For Atlanta fans, it seemed to good to be true. Maybe it was.

Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter David O’Brien writes on his Braves Blog that two seperate scouts have told him that Soriano looks lost in winterball:

OK, about the Dominican winter league. This guy was just there and saw a relief pitcher who he’s seen thrown 95-96 mph in the past top out at only 91 mph in the D.R.

He said the guy looked like he was searching, like he had no answers. He felt bad for him, the scout said. And he also said another scout saw this pitcher make a start the week before and not get out of the first inning.

Now, I don’t know if maybe these two guys each saw Rafael Soriano on a bad day, but it would at least explain a little bit why Seattle was willing to trade him to the Braves for injury-plagued lefty Horacio Ramirez.

O’Brien says scouts told him that other scouts were theorizing that Soriano hasn’t bounced back from being drilled by a Vladimir Guerrero line drive on Aug. 29.

Whatever the reason, Braves fans will have to wait until March to see if their team has landed the real thing, or damaged goods.

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