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Soriano Signing Does a Few Things for the Yankees

By Jed Weisberger ~ January 14th, 2011. Filed under: New York Yankees.

I must admit I have looked on amusingly as Yankees fans both bemoaned the fact Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies and the team didn’t trade Jesus Montero and others for Zack Greinke or Felix Hernandez.

Then there were the calls to send a high-level prospect, and/or Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner to the Cubs for problem-child Carlos Zambrano.  Oh, why didn’t Yankees general manager Brian Cashman make a stronger move to get Matt Garza?

Trade Montero and a few more prospects for Joakim Soria.

Guess what? The Yankees proved again, by signing Rafael Soriano, they don’t need to trade for any of the above. Seriously, what’s better? Overpaying for Soria or signing Soriano? The answer is simple.

So what did the Yankees accomplish by luring the 31-year-old Soriano with a three-year, $35 million reported contract? When you break it down, a lot:

1. With the addition of Soriano, along with lefty Pedro Feliciano, the Yankees now have the power to make many games six-inning affairs. By the way, Soriano was 3-2, 1.73 with 45 saves in 64 appearances for the Rays in 2010. The AL batted .163 against him. NL lefties batted .211 against Feliciano, making him the perfect LOOGY for the Yankees.

2. This eases the pressure on the starting rotation, even if Andy Pettitte doesn’t come back, by not forcing starters to go deep into the game. We’ll see in spring training, but righty Ivan Nova should assert himself in 2011, while righties David Phelps and Hector Noesi are not all that far away from The Bronx. No matter the rotation, one would realistically think, with the Yankees’ offense, C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Nova and, perhaps either Phelps or Noesi could get through five innings. Sergio Mitre fans, I’m sorry. Thank you, very much.

3. You look at the above and think there might still be an opening in the rotation. The Yankees have a built-in candidate in Joba Chamberlain. I know, he’s been screwed around with and all that, but I’ll also tell you a secret: It doesn’t matter from year-to-year. Let Joba get stretched out – he is willing to work hard – and see what he can do as a starter in spring training. It’s going to be very interesting in spring training with the pitchers to see how this all unfolds.

4. Still think the Yankees need a veteran stop-gap? There are going to be such pitchers non-tendered looking for jobs in the spring. See what’s available. You may have to trade nothing.

5. The Yankees have no need to panic. After Phelps and Noesi, there are pitchers in the system like lefty Manny Banuelos, righty Dellin Betances, righty Andrew Brackman, righty Adam Warren, righty D.J. Mitchell, righty Graham Stoneburner, lefty Shaeffer Hall and lefty Josh Romanski. Of those 10 – all of whom have the stuff to eventually succeed in the majors between mid-2011 and early 2013 – if three develop into legitimate starters, the Yankees development staff has done its job.

6. Every team is locking up their young pitchers. The Yankees, or any other team, can’t go in and grab King Felix from Seattle, or Justin Verlander from Detroit. Those clubs have a bottom-line and fans to satisfy as well.

The Yankees needed Soriano, who expressed an interest in signing with them. By acquiring him, they may have built the strongest bullpen in the American League. Righty David Robertson, in particular, has to step up.

Put it this way, with a NESN writer predicting the 2011 Red Sox will be better than the 1927 Yankees, Cashman and Company had to find a formidable way to get the Beantowners – and everybody else – out in the late innings.

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

3 Responses to Soriano Signing Does a Few Things for the Yankees

  1. TT

    At first I thought this was a Silva column til I realized he didnt take 5 shots at Joba.

  2. Jerome Martin

    I have a dream a Barry Bonds as a DH no pitching staff could survive that line up I guarantee a ring or Manny Ramirez alternate

  3. Stu B

    Can you write that again Jerome, this time in English?

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