Joakim Soria Seems Like A No-Brainer For The Yankees

Rafael Soriano will not accept his $13.3m qualifying offer, and the Yankees look destined to bring Mariano Rivera back for at least the 2013 season. The team will lose one great closer, and gain back the greatest closer. Still, they could have used the type of reliable setup man they lost when Soriano was promoted to closer, and Cory Wade was demoted to Triple-A.

The Mexicutioner

The outlook for next season has Rivera closing and David Robertson setting up for him in the 8th inning. With Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, they figure to compete for late inning relief work. Despite the upside of both players, they represent lottery tickets with their injury history. Guys like Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and Clay Rapada did their part in 2012, but it’s hard to imagine any of them emerging as a high-leverage reliever. The Yankees have the opportunity to now hedge their bets on Chamberlain and Aardsma, and throw in a third lottery ticket.… Click here to read the rest

The 2013 bullpen

First off, how is everyone? I know a large portion of our readership is certainly in the Tri-State Area and I hope you and yours are doing well. Now, let’s get onto some baseball matters as a nice distraction.

As you probably could’ve guessed by midseason, Rafael Soriano has officially opted out of his contract with the Yankees. ACcording to that same link, the Yankees will give Soriano a qualifying offer (which he likely won’t accept) and are willing to give him a two year contract. In the simplest of terms, there are a few ways that this can shake out:

1. The Best Case Scenario:

In this scenario, the Yankees get their cake and eat it, too. They get Mariano Rivera back on a one year deal and Soriano takes the qualifying offer. That would give the team two dynamite back-end bullpen options and keep them free, moneywise, for 2014 and Plan 189. Short term commitments to relief pitchers are more than desirable; a one year commitment each to a duo of two great relievers would be downright fantastic.… Click here to read the rest

Bullpen blows gem by Burnett as Yanks fall to Royals in extras 4-3

Our butts are hurt too, A.J. (photo c/o The AP)

This about sums last night’s game up.

A.J. Burnett tossed seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball against the Royals on Wednesday night (the one hit being a solo home run by Eric Hosmer), and left the game with the Yankees up 2-1. Unfortunately neither Joba Chamberlain (due to having pitched thrice in four games) nor Rafael Soriano (shoulder inflammation) were available in this contest, leaving the Yankee bullpen a tad short. David Robertson couldn’t hold it down in the eighth, as one of his 8,000 walks finally came back to bite him in the form of a Wilson Betemit (argh) two-out game-tying single.

In fact, free passes were the theme of the night for the Yankee pitchers. Though the Royals only picked up four hits, the Yankees handed out a season-high 11(!) walks to Kansas City. Most critically, Buddy Carlyle walked the leadoff hitter in both the 10th and 11th innings, and both times the Royals wound up scoring.… Click here to read the rest

On Trading for Soria and Desperation

Bill Madden, of whom I’m no great fan (so let that be a disclaimer) wrote a piece recently about the Yankees and their apparent need to trade for Joakim Soria. On the surface level, I don’t entirely disagree with the idea. Adding Soria would make sense since he’s one of the top relief arms in all of baseball and because he’s relatively cheap. I disagree with what Madden thinks the Yankees should give up and why they should do it.

I’m not going to go paragraph by paragraph and do a full FJM on this bad boy because it doesn’t deserve that, and that tune’s more than a little bit played out. I may cut and paste certain quotes to highlight, but mostly I’ll be commenting on the tone of the piece and Madden’s justifications.

Starting with the tone, it doesn’t come off as all that desperate, but the title of the piece does. While the Yankees’ offseason has certainly not gone entirely as planned, that’s mostly due to losing out on Cliff Lee.… Click here to read the rest

Soria, Dunn, and Lilly! Oh My!

Yesterday morning, there was a slew of Yankee trade news involving Joakim Soria, Adam Dunn, and Ted Lilly. Allow me to comment…

1. If it is true that the Yankees dangled Jesus Montero for Soria, then I’m none too happy. Using Montero as trade bait for a guy like Cliff Lee is understandable. Doing so for a reliever, even if they want to make Soria a starter as he was in Mexico, is not something the Yankees should be doing. While Soria is a difference maker out of the bullpen, that’s not worth trading a stud hitting prospect like Montero. That said, I’d still like to see if the Yankees could get a hold of Soria without having to give up Montero or fellow catching prospect Austin Romine. Granted, the chances of that are ridiculously small. If the Yankees and Royals can’t match up in the next day or two, they should just cut the cord.

2. Not surprisingly, the Yankees have found the cost for Adam Dunn “prohibitive.” My dream is slowly, slowly dying.… Click here to read the rest

Anatomy of a Rumor: The Montero for Soria Proposal

A few days ago, Jon Heyman dropped this little nugget into a larger trade deadline article:

They say they want a bat for the bench and bullpen help, and that is true. But they can’t resist big-game hunting. They tried hard for Lee and Haren, and made a big proposal for Royals closer Joakim Soria, as well.

At the time, I largely dismissed the rumor, simply because the words “big proposal” have been thrown around a lot lately regarding packages headlined by players such as Ivan Nova. However, Jayson Stark seemed to add some context to that tidbit with the following whopper:

Lots of Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria rumors flying in Kansas City. But teams we’ve surveyed say they see no sign that either is going anywhere. The Yankees just made another run at Soria, as first reported by — even dangling Jesus Montero. But the Royals weren’t interested.

When this story was brought to me attention on Twitter, I told anybody who would listen that the offer never took place.… Click here to read the rest

The problem with trading for Soria

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

I’d love to trade for Joakim Soria as much as the next guy. He’s one of the few Closers in Baseball that reminds me of The Great Mariano. Slight build, misses bats (10.10 SO/9) has good control (2.53 BB/9) and is cool as ice out there. Fastball sits around 89-94 mph and has natural cutting action, which he throws most of the time. When facing Lefties, he complements the Fastball with a Change with good lateral action that he throws around 80-84 mph. Against Righties, he employs a Slider with good tilt and slow Curveball (66-71 MPH) that he mixes in equally. The cut on the Fastball makes hitters speed up their bats, and the breaking balls put them away. Earlier in his career, Mariano was called ‘the assassin’ (or El Asesino) and Soria’s nickname is ‘The Mexicutioner’. You could slide Soria in as the setup man until Mariano retires, and then have his replacement in the fold.… Click here to read the rest