Simulpost on ESPNNY: Soria vs. Soriano

At what cost, though? The Yanks’ 2011 first-round pick and likely a minimum of $10 million per year for at least three years. The Yanks have the cash, as Ian Begley noted yesterday.

But just because the team has the cash does not mean it should be spent on a security blanket, even one as good as Soriano. We do not know if Soriano only wants to close, rather than be Mo’s caddy. The only real cost to the Yanks, besides the cash, is that first-round pick and they’ve been giving those away for years with their repeated Type A free agent signings. Giving it to their AL East competitors is a double dip of bitter. Soriano would represent a very expensive luxury and while the team could be better off in the short term, I’m not confident the team will be happy with this deal in two years.

On the other hand, we now hear that the “Mexicutioner,” Joakim Soria will not block a trade to the Yankees, despite having New York on his no-trade list:

“I didn’t put it there, my agent did, as a strategy,” Soria said. “But if the Royals decide to trade me to New York I would gladly go to play with the Yankees or any other team… I repeat, I would not block a trade to the Yankees. I like to play baseball and I would play with any team.”

Soria is, quite simply, one of the top closers in baseball, period. A career WHIP of 0.99 and ERA of 2.01, not to mention an impressive 4.01 K/BB ratio while racking up 132 saves. His 2010 numbers were even more impressive, with 43 saves, 1.05 WHIP, 1.78 ERA and a 4.44 K/BB ratio.

The problem is the cost to acquire Soria will be painful. Notes MLBTR:

The Yankees reportedly dangled top catching prospect Jesus Montero in a Soria discussion last July…

Cashman’s belief in Montero has been fortified since last July, even with the Russell Martin signing. Still, the Royals should have jumped on that offer if that rumor were indeed true. They now would be well within their right to begin by asking for Montero and going from there, though that’s a non-starter for the Yankees. The Yankees have the farm system depth to deal for Soria without including Montero, but we begin to get into the philosophical debates about how much of the farm system they are willing to part with for insurance/caddy for Mo.

The mitigating factor in dealing with the pain of trading for Soria is that he’s under team control through 2014. His salary for 2011 is a relative paltry $4M, followed by team options for 2012-14 for $6M, $8M and $8.75M (per Cot’s). Clearly this is well below what Soriano would command in salary, but aside from that one compensation draft pick next year, Soriano’s cost is cash. Soria, on the other hand, requires a much more painful separation of the team’s top prospects.

Soria or Soriano would also become the heir apparent to Mariano, though no one is quite sure if that cyborg will ever truly show his age. Soria or Soriano would significantly help the Yanks shorten ballgames, something their lack of rotation depth would surely benefit from as well. The issue, as always, is the acquisition cost.

Time to play armchair GM: Would you rather sign Soriano (cash and a draft pick) or trade for Soria (high level prospects), and why?

Jason Rosenberg is the founder and lead writer of the ESPN-affiliated SweetSpot Network site, It’s About The Money. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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14 thoughts on “Simulpost on ESPNNY: Soria vs. Soriano

  1. I don't particularly care for either, but I'd rather have Soriano if we're going to go this route. The money and the pick are nowhere near as valuable as the money Soria is going to make plus the prospects he'll require to get.

  2. Soriano is too old to be a successor to Mo. The Yankees have so many arms in AA/AAA that I'd rather see some of the second tier prospects (Phelps, Noesi, warren – i.e. the non-killer Bs) given a chance since there is more hope there for a successor to mo.

    If we could get Soria without giving up Montero (the Royals don't need a catcher iirc) or Banuelos then that could set us up for the future.

  3. Man, if Cashman really offered Montero for Soria, and the Royals said no, that is a truly impressive display of two-way GM ineptitude.

    That said, depending on the package of prospects, I'd prefer Soria. Montero should be a non-starter in any trade talks. Other than him though, it seems the Yanks have enough depth in the farm system to make a palatable trade.

  4. What about Brian Fuentes as a better option, at least in the short run (2 – 3 seasons, given that he's older at 35)? He is Free Agent (so no need to rip up the Farm system in a trade) and NOT a Type A (so no loss of First Round Draft pick). Plus he's a LHP, but not a LOOGY; so, he could be the regular Set-Up (8th inning guy) and occasional Closer when MO needs a day off; and wouldn't be GREAT to go from one to three LHP in the Bullpen? reports today, via, that the BoSox are "nosing around" on Fuentes — which given that they've already added Jenks and Wheeler to their Bullpen seems real unlikely to happen; my read is that Theo is trying to drive up Fuentes' price before Brian signs him.

  5. I would definitely go w soriano. Clearly soria is better
    but giving up A prospects for an 8th inning guy – even one as dominant as soria – just doesn't make sense to me. And it's worth noting that the diff in cash might not be that much – they've admitted that the no-trade is there purely for negotiation leverage, so presumably soria would want a new contract as a part of any deal…

  6. I think getting Soria—or any "Mo successor" for that matter—is a mistake. Relief pitchers are just too "risky." You honestly never know from one year to a next what's going to happen with them. So to get a guy now for TWO years down the road when Mo retires…Soria may "stink" by then. Or he may have another arm injury. I think we need to accept the fact that we have been ridiculously spoiled by Mo. Most closers are lucky to have a successful stretch a fifth as long as he has. So don't blow the prospects now. If you're going to move for Mo's successor, do it in 2012, to give him one year of on-the-job training and to lessen the risk factor.

  7. First of all, the "Mexicutioner" has to be the greatest nicknames in the history of nicknames.

    Secondly, if the Yankees do end up trading for Soria, they'll likely need to cut a deal with Soria and his agent regarding the option years of his contract. Personally, I think Soria is going to want all three of his option years declined before agreeing to accept any trade to one of the six teams on his no trade list. Doing so would allow him to become a free agent after the 2011 season. Soria is due to receive $22.75M over his three option years (2012-2014), and he could earn a lot more on the free agent market–especially with the way money is being thrown around right now.