In one of the stranger stories of this offseason, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has publicly announced that he did not participate in the negotiations to sign Rafael Soriano. A week before the Yankees signed the reliever, Cashman said that he was not prepared to sign a man who would be a middle reliever in the Yankees bullpen and give up a first round pick for him (Soriano was a type A free agent).
It's probably not a very good sign when your team's GM feels the need to tell everyone that he was not involved in signing a player. It's like he's wiping his hands of Soriano before he even throws a pitch in pinstripes. The details of Soriano's deal make it clear that the Yankees had amateurs negotiating on their side, and they were going up against Super Agent Scott Boras on Soriano's side. Soriano not only gets All Star closer money while only pitching the 8th inning, he also has an option for the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract. So he's got guaranteed money even if he flops. At 31 years old, he could be on the verge of the downslope of his career.
This might be the first big blunder of the Hank and Hal Era of Yankees ownership. Some have already begun questioning their baseball IQ, and one press outlet has already been quoted as writing that the brothers "were born on third base and think they hit a triple".
Very odd. Obviously the Yankees were grasping at straws by acquiring Soriano just to make some headlines and gain a little offseason relevance.
The Boston Red Sox look to not only be the best team in the AL East, but probably the best team in the MLB. Toronto is good enough to win some games, and with a young/strong pitching staff the Rays should remain competitive. Even Baltimore has made a few moves to improve this offseason.
The Yankees are in trouble this year and a pitch hasn't even been thrown.
The money in Vegas seems to be on the Phillies right now. The Red Sox are a slight favorite over the Yankees to take the American League pennant, but the last I checked a bet on the Phillies to win the World Series this year only pays 1.8 to 1, which is ridiculous for a preseason futures bet.
With that starting rotation, the Phillies ought to have a fantastic season.
I think Cashman was trying to say that he isn't against signing Soriano, he's just against the size (years and $) of the contract he was given.
The week prior to the deal being finalized he said he was against giving up the draft pick to sign Soriano for his market value. Since Soriano was a type A free agent, the Rays will get a first round draft pick from the Yankees.
Soriano is 31 years old, and he's pitched under 400 innings in his career. Even for a reliever that's really low. He had injury problems in 2008, but other than that he's been very strong since getting Tommy John surgery, which is one of the few surgeries for baseball players that can actually be considered "performance enhancing".
I'm sure Cashman likes what Soriano brings to the table, he just didn't want to be responsible for a $10 million+/year contract for a guy who will probably just set up for Rivera. Now the press can't blame Cashman if things go wrong.
In the interests of clarity, I'm a Boston fan.
I think Soriano will likely end up an excellent pick-up, but you're right: giving up a 1st round pick + a 3-year contract at that amount of $ is a near-sighted move. Soriano simply hasn't pitched long enough to warrant the faith. On top of that, we're talking about an 8th-inning guy. I'm sure you'd agree that it's starting pitching the Yankees need.
In other news, Manny and Damon signed with the Rays, huh?
Without a doubt this has been a failed offseason for the Yankees. They went into the offseason thinking there was a very good chance they'd come away with Crawford and Lee, and they ended up getting neither. They've signed two relievers and a backup outfielder. I've already stated how I feel about relievers. There's a hot one every year, and he almost always fades away the next season. Mariano Rivera is one of the few exceptions. Soriano is too old to become the "next Rivera".
Manny an Damon to the Rays seems like another case of low-risk signings of aging stars. They are mortgaging the franchise for these guys, and who knows, maybe they each have something left in the tank. Damon's dropoff last season shouldn't surprise anyone. He was heavily aided the year before by the Yankee Stadium jetstream (which appears to have been caused by wind patterns influenced by old Yankee Stadium, which is no longer standing). In '09, 17 of his 24 home runs came at Yankee Stadium.
Manny had an on-base percentage over .400 last season, so even in a diminished role he can help out. Don't expect the Rays to fade away too easily.
I won't, but I'm also not expecting the Rays to contend.
You and I agree about relief pitchers. I actually feel that way about closers, too. One of the myths floating around baseball is that a dominant closer is so much better than an average one. The difference, statistically, is minute compared to starters and position players. Soriano's contract reflects a need to do something, and I understand that, but I also understand where Cashman's coming from.
All that said, the Yankees still have a potent offense. I expect it to be a battle this season, regardless of what fans see "on paper" right now.
Just to clarify, I meant to say the Rays "are NOT" mortgaging the franchise for Damon and Ramirez. Just shows what happens when I don't get enough coffee.
I absolutely agree about relievers. People see those stats like "this team has won 50 out of 52 games when entering the 9th inning with a lead" and they think it means they have a great reliever. The truth is, even teams with terrible relievers have similar stats. The majority of relievers are just pitchers who don't have enough variety in their pitches to be starters. Even Mariano Rivera sucked as a starter, and he probably would suck again if they put him back in as a starter. That cutter only works when batters don't see it very often.
As always, the Yankees offense should be just devastating up and down the lineup. If the Yankees can get Teixeira to hit well for a full season (in 2010, he might as well have not shown up for games in April and September) they will pack a big punch in the middle of that lineup. With the surge Granderson and Cano showed at the end of last season, Derek Jeter would be by far the weakest hitter in the #1-5 spots. He'd be so weak compared to the guys around him there would probably be pressure to move him to 7th or 8th in the lineup.
The yankees are a mess this year. To me this was a desperate move to get Rafael Soriano. Cashman was unsuccessful in getting Cliff Lee and other major players that signed elsewhere. Maybe this is a way Steinbrenner is going to push out Cashman? I would not be surprised if Cashman quits or is fired by the end of the upcoming season. Especially if the Yankees fail to win another world series.
They didnt need soriano they have mo riveria. Soriano could of been a closer anywhere now hes a high price setup man just makes no sence for the yanks to sign him! I wanted him to stay in tampa, should be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure in ny.
That's always a factor when guys sign with the Yankees. Soriano may have thought he was in high pressure situations in Tampa Bay, but wait until he finds out that every time he screws up the New York Post will have a back page cover photo of him with a headline mocking his performance. Some guys can handle that, others can't. If he's costing Mo save opportunities and the Yankees wins, he'll get pounced on real fast by the media.
pressure in tampa not even close! When he was in atlanta he had pressure and blew a few saves!
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