Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Should the Yanks Sign Rafael Soriano?

Should the Yanks Sign Rafael Soriano?

By Mike Silva ~ December 27th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

This is a loaded question with an easy answer, but with a caveat.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reiterated in his latest column (subscription required) the dangers of signing relievers to three year contracts. This was something I also discussed a week ago. Take a look at some the most recent relievers that received multiyear deals before this year:

Mariano Rivera
Steve Karsay
Paul Quantrill
Kyle Farnsworth
Damaso Marte
Todd Van Poppel
Scott Linebrink
Brandon Lyon
Jason Christiansen

Obviously Rivera work out, but each of the teams that signed those player haven’t gotten the value out of the contract. That’s why I doubt Scott Downs, Matt Guerrier, Joaquin Benoit, and Jesse Crain will be looked at as positives for their new teams. Maybe you get a year of production, but nothing that a failed minor league starter turned reliever can’t produce for a fraction of the cost.

With that said, I believe the market for Rafael Soriano is such that the Yankees could get away with giving him a one year deal. I just don’t see a team giving Scott Boras a four year/$60 million dollar deal, which is what some reports indicate he is asking. Soriano is a great reliever, but an injury risk as he’s lost three seasons due to elbow and shoulder problems.

With that said, I would support a one year deal if Andy Pettitte decides to retire, and give Soriano some of the money ($12 million?) that was earmarked for Pettitte. Whatever remaining budget should be used to bring in a low risk/high reward starter (see Jeff Francis or Chris Young) to compete with the kids for a rotation spot.

Mariano Rivera shouldn’t be asked to get six outs on a consistent basis anymore. Soriano/Rivera would “lockdown” the final six outs of the game. On the nights that CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett pitch they could go seven innings, and hand the ball to the bullpen. It would put Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson in a lower leverage situation, which seems to be where they pitch their best baseball.

I doubt the Yankees will spend this kind of money on Soriano, plus I predict Boras would rather see his client sign a one year deal as a closer, prove his health, and then get a team to give him the 3-4 year deal next year. Let’s not forget that Soriano will cost the Yanks a first round pick, although this is a deep draft, and I always subscribe to “winning now” if you have the opportunity. Clearly the Yankees are a “win now” team with their veteran core.

Should the Yankees sign Soriano? Yes, but only on a one year deal.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Should the Yanks Sign Rafael Soriano?

  1. Richard


    Soriano would also make sense on a 2 year deal, albeit for less money. Unless he is your closer, you cannot give him that much (12 mil), which is why we won’t see him in pinstripes. If, God forbid, Pettitte retires, the money should be spent on upgrading the back end of the pen, but overspending on a guy with serious health issues, even on a one-year deal, is foolishness that we haven’t seen from Cashman; he will wait out the market and scoop up some arms and hope for a gem among them.

    My view is that Soriano would be a great fit at 2/$13 mil, and maybe a vesting option for a third that would all but guarantee his place as the heir to Mariano’s throne.

  2. Mike Silva


    I think you are 100% correct, but Boras will never allow Soriano to sign a multi year deal at less than the $12-15 mill per year.

    He MIGHT let the Yanks get him for 1 year at a closer salary to setup for Rivera, but I suspect there is a team that will give him a 2 year deal ala JJ Putz, to close.

    I am thinking 2 years/$30 million.

    Although there is part of me that wonders if this is turning into another Johnny Damon situation.

  3. Mister D

    No way should the Yankees give up their top pick for one year of a reliever, no matter who that reliever is.

    And honestly, I don’t see this as a “win now” team. The “win now” team played in 09 and 10. This is the team that come a couple years after a “win now” team, a team with older players, odd parts, and clear holes. This is a team in transition, with clear deficits in the rotation and behind the plate, and a slew of young talent just not quite ready to make it to the big leagues.

    To sign Soriano now would undermine the team of tomorrow, which in all likelihood will be in a much better position to win than the team that exists now.

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