Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yankees Reportedly Sign Rafael Soriano, Call Me A Fan Of That

Greetings and salutations everyone. As usual, it's been awhile since my last post. It's been a pretty quiet offseason so I've been spending it with the fam. There are some things I could have blogged about but I don't want my blog to be a news source. There are enough of those sites around and I don't need to be one of those that just blogs what someone else reported on. If I have opinions and whatnot about the news, you can count on me to pop in and blog about it. Blogs, specifically fan blogs, in my opinion, should be much more than reporting news. Leave that to the pros. Having said that....

SI's Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees and Rafael Soriano have agreed to a 3 year deal with a reported $35 million. Based on my Twitter timeline (follow me here if you'd like) the signing comes with mixed feelings from Yankee fans. Some like the signing and some don't. I'm not overly crazy about it but I have no complaints.

Soriano gives the Yankees arguably the best back of the bullpen in baseball. Last year, Soriano and Mariano, or the "Iano Brothers" as someone, I forget who, dubbed them on Twitter, combined for 78 saves and a 1.77 ERA. Their combined line was 122.1 IP, 75 hits, 25 BB, 102 K, 0.82 WHIP and an opponents batting average around .170. Add that up and it equals lights out. If the Yankees take a lead into the late 7th/early 8th inning the game is over. It's kind of reminiscent of the Rivera/Wetteland tandem from back in the day.

They were each pretty darn good in 2009 also: 71 saves on 142 IP, 101 hits, 39 walks, 0.99 whip, OBA around .195, and an ERA of 2.41. The Yankees basically have two top of the line closers, one being the greatest of all-time, closing out their games. How could anyone dislike that?

As of now the Yankees need their bullpen to be a huge strength. Their starting rotation is in shambles and will be in shambles if Sergio Mitre is penciled in as the 4th starter. The Yanks are going to need all the help they can get in closing out games and strengthening the pen was the right move.

One of the biggest gripes I saw was about the money and the loss of the Yankees 1st round draft pick, which would have been pick #31. I have no idea why any Yankee fan would ever complain about the team spending money. It's been their M.O. for quite some time now. How can you complain about your team doing everything they can to win, including losing money year after year? And it's not like the team is broke or strapped for cash. According to a tweet from Heyman they still have about $20 million or so left in the budget. That's quite a bit to have left to spend this late in the game. Did they Yankees overpay for Soriano? Probably. But for the reasons stated above, no big deal to me.

As for the draft pick, I see the value in having it, but let's be real, a lot of first round draft picks are complete busts. Soriano is a proven talent. The undrafted prospect at #31 is just that, a prospect. It could turn out to be some bum that never sees the majors. It's been known to happen. I'll always go with the proven talent over the picks.

The most perplexing thing about this deal is the comments Brian Cashman made earlier this month about not losing the draft pick. That comment basically meant the team wasn't interested in Soriano. So the question is what happened and why did the story change? Was it a ruse by Cashman as to not tip his hand? Was he pressured into making the deal happen by Hal Steinbrenner or another high ranking official? Did Cashman finally awake from a long winter's nap and realize it was time to make a move? I'm not sure we'll ever now but I'm sure someone in the media is going to ask that question. Perhaps will know more about that in the coming days.

Another back-and-forth going on in the Twitterverse as a result of this signing is what to do with Joba Chamberlain? Some are advocating a return to the rotation. Others want him left where he is as a middle reliever. Some want him traded. I kind of fall across all 3 of those. If you read my blog frequently, and why would you when I post something once every 4-5 weeks, you know I'm not a Joba fan at all. But I'll take him over Sergio Mitre. I'm all for them swapping roles if that's the only option. If Mitre somehow gets squeezed out of the rotation by someone else (please Andy, come back) I'm all for leaving him as a middle RP or dealing him for someone with a better track record. If I had to pick one of the options I'd try and trade him. I'm just not a fan.

I'm really hoping that Andy Pettitte doesn't retire. My gut tells me he's not going to. If Heyman is right, and the Yankees really do have $20 million left to spend, who better to give it to the Andy? Come on Andy. It's yours for the taking. Please reach out and grab it. The team needs you.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,