The Yankees are about to acquire Alfonso Soriano. They will pay some significant portion of the $25 million remaining on his contract, but will structure the deal so the deal costs them nothing in luxury tax next season. Great! The Yankees need bats, and being right-handed doesn’t hurt. Alfonso will immediately become the 2nd or 3rd best hitter in the Yankee lineup, even though he’s basically an average MLB hitter right now.
But god damn, this makes me angry. The Yankees are already spending $11.5 million on Vernon Wells this season. They are now deciding to open the piggy bank again to take on another salary dump, and spend likely about the same money on Alfonso Soriano. Let’s use a round number and say that the Yankees are spending $20 million on both.
If Hal Steinbrenner knew nine months ago that he was willing to open up and spend an additional $20 million on one horrible baseball player and one deeply flawed baseball player, how the hell was he not able to spend a little bit of money on Russell Martin, Nate Schierholtz, Eric Chavez, or whomever? Even before Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson got injured, the 2013 Yankee roster had huge, gaping holes in the outfield and at catcher, multiple rehabbing players with unknown timelines, and absolutely zero depth at the bench. When the injuries continued to pile up, the depth was exposed as a fatal weakness.
I have no problem with Hal Steinbrenner giving Brian Cashman a budget. $200 million should be more than enough to build a winning MLB baseball team. This is a business, and Hal’s more of a businessman than his father. But he needs to give Cashman his budget before the season begins. It is a hell of a lot easier to sign free agents than to trade for them at the deadline. Instead of a healthy smattering of bench and role players and a real starting catcher, we got Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano. As a result, the Steinbrenners are going to be paying $240 million or more this year for a team that barely has an outside chance at the playoffs.