Soriano Won’t Rescue The Yankees

Alfonso Soriano is a decent bat and has sentimental value as a player from another Yankee era, but he cannot cure the club's injury woes. (Getty Images)

Alfonso Soriano is a decent bat and has sentimental value as a player from another Yankee era, but he cannot cure the club's injury woes. (Getty Images)

The second Alfonso Soriano era in New York isn’t off to the most fantastic beginning — the Yankees are on the verge of being swept at home by the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, and Soriano is 0 for 8 in his first two games back in pinstripes — because there’s a lot more wrong with the New York Yankees than one aging outfielder with a league average bat can fix on his own. But Soriano wasn’t brought in to right to the ship; he’s in town to help it sink more gracefully.

The Yankees are historically bad right now from the right side of the plate. Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus has a breakdown of just how bad right here. Soriano’s .754 OPS as a Cub this year immediately leads all of the Yankees’ current right-handed options, and even including the club’s disabled list, Francisco Cervelli is the only righty to hit better than him this year. A .754 OPS and bad defense in left isn’t going to fix the infield (sans Robinson Cano), de-age Ichiro Suzuki, or get Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia out of their rough patch, but it will at least take some at-bats away from the dismal Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells.

By far the most important thing about Soriano to the Yankees, though, is that he’s specifically Alfonso Soriano: a guy who, in the middle of a terrible season that only happened because of enforced austerity by Yankees ownership, might remind fans of those times when George Steinbrenner’s teams won the World Series (even though he didn’t become an every-day player with the Yankees until the year after those teams won their last World Series). That New York could afford to take on his and Wells’ contracts this year and next, throw a bunch of money at Suzuki and Kevin Youkilis, but still not find any money for Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez or any other real free-agent acquisitions speaks volumes about the priorities of Yankees management at the moment.

In fairness to the Yankees, the austerity thing might not have been a major embarrassment if all their aging players hadn’t gotten hurt, rehabbed and then gotten hurt immediately after returning from rehab — no team has enough depth to replace five veteran starting position players and still play championship baseball. Soriano should nonetheless be a helpful bat (by certain definitions of the word), and Chicago will be paying the majority of his salary this year and next. Now, having gone through the motions of finding someone at the deadline who gives season-ticket holders warm fuzzies about George’s old teams (and hopefully keeps some of them from cancelling any partial or full-season plans they might have for next year), the Yankees can continue to free fall their way through the American League East standings and come back next year when hopefully they’re more serious about winning.

And as for Corey Black, Yankees fans shouldn’t be gnashing their teeth or wailing over surrendering him; he’s striking out a bunch of guys in High A ball right now, but just about any pitching prospect with a live fastball is going to do that when not facing advanced hitters. That fastball is essentially all he has going for him as a prospect. Unless he significantly improves his command of that pitch and the quality and control of all his off-speed offerings, his ceiling is a good middle reliever. Not a great haul for Chicago, but better than nothing — and Cubs fan weren’t expecting too much in return for that contract anyway.

94 thoughts on “Soriano Won’t Rescue The Yankees

  1. Yes, a mistake not to re-sign Chavez or Ibanez. So what? Baseball is all about winning even when mistakes are made. A mistake not to re-sign Damon and Matsui after 2009? Looks that way. So what? Did the Yanks make it to the playoffs in 2010? Sure did. A mistake not to sign Pettitte after 2003? Sure was. So what? That didn’t cause the Yanks’ implosion in the 2004 ALCS.

    And signing Soriano is definitely not a mistake. The Yanks need right-handed power. The Yanks have needed right-handed power for 2 years. Soriano is the best that was available.

    Austerity, shmausterity. Austerity didn’t cause the Yanks to let Austin Jackson go in favor of Grandy.

    The mistake isn’t the austerity. The austerity is the product of offering ridiculous contracts to ARod in 2007; to CC; to AJ Burnett ad nauseum.

    Soriano? What’s he costing the Yankees? Not too much. And he’s certainly worth way more than “not too much.” Yanks never should have traded him for ARod in the first place.

  2. Yep, he stood at home plate and hesitated on a ball that barely made it out and could have been caught. Just ONE of the reasons why he is GONE! Once that contract is up, he will be playing for a non-contender, if he is lucky.

    • Don’t you just hate when a guy just watches the ball fly assuming it’s out and then, oh wait, it’s off the wall for a long single.

  3. Gotta love the Yankee haters. We’re going to criticize Soriano because his home run BARELY cleared the wall now?! LOL, OK. Expecting the guy to come back and immediately hit home runs every at bat is as ridiculous as declaring his trade a joke for having gone 0-8 in his first 8 at bats.

    This lineup is looking pretty good again. If they can beat Matt Moore and the Rays, they can beat any team and their starting pitching is already up there with anyone.

    • You mean that on-pitcher starting pitching. Girardi seems to think that starting Sabathia every day will save his job. Sabathia isn’t that good in the first place.

    • starting pitching? what starting pitching–only solid starter is Kuroda! CC got his contract and now he can`t pitch! Hughes—ugh! Poor Andy–should have quit while ahead.

    • He beat Matt Moore because Matt had a off-day. All pitchers go through stretches. That doesn’t mean the Yankees will beat any other team.

  4. We’re only 2.5 games out. We’re getting grandy and possibly a rod back. We definitly have a chance at atleast a wildcard. So yea… soriano can definitely help us

    • Don’t kid yourself. The Yanks have too many good teams ahead of them that are winning, except Texas. However, knowing Texas, they will begin winning again.

  5. Gee, well I think that Soriano certainly did the job today, and along with Jeter now back and hitting a homer right on his first at bat and not to mention with his team spirit and his much needed leadership, the Yankees might have a change, although still slim, to make a comeback now, it’s been done before. Good going Soriano, welcome back, and good going Jeter, also a welcome back! It was a much needed win today!

    • Jeter was with the team in 2009 and failed to make the playoffs. They ended up in third place that year. Jeter doesn’t make a team. He is just a player.

      • They failed to make the playoffs in 2008 – They won it all in ’09. I do remember at the end of ’08 that jeter was acting like a little spoiled brat.
        “Oh gee. We’ve already been eliminated from the postseason. It’s so strange to be playing games that don’t really mean anything. It’s such an unusual position for me to be in”. – — Yikes! Get over yourself, DJ!

        • Derek Jeter is not a spoiled brat. He is obviously a clutch performer and one of the greatest to ever play the game. He is currently 11th in alltime hits with 3307 and closing in on 10th and 9th. He has also won 5 world series and been to numerous more. His career batting average is well over .300. If anyone in there right mind doesnt like Jeter then its there problem because hes clearly put up incredible numbers his whole career. Jeter hit .300 in 2008 so he obviously didnt quit that year.

          • “there problem” ? – Don’t get so emotional about defending Jeter & the Yankees that you forget how to spell, use proper grammar, use proper tenses and punctuate correctly.

      • Just to inform you in case you left the planet and zoomed out of orbit the Yankees won their 27th World Series in 2009! You can come back to earth now.

      • Yanks won it all in ’09 and ARod carried them. Jeter is “just a player”?? Hmm…take another bong rip dummy.

  6. Unfortunately, Brian Cashman has been undermined as the G.M. of the Yankees. Now it is all about the money and Randy Levine making the decisions. He hides behind the skirt of Cashman when he makes decisions that adversely affects the team. He takes all of the credit when (Soriano) when one of his baseball decisions are successful. Cashman gets the blame for NOT signing either Martin or Swisher rather than Suzuki who Levine signs for a 2 year deal so that Suzuki can be a Yankee when he gets his 3000 hit. It is all about the money for Levine. It is the god that he worships, Wins and losses are meaningless. As a Yankee fan, who in the past attended about 60 games a year, who is willing to pay the ridiculous prices charged at Yankee stadium, it is a ripoff to have to pay for this team that was largely assembled as a result of Levine’s decisions or approval. The goal of getting to a 189 million dollar payroll overrides the goal of winning. This is Levine’s goal. he is the Guliani political hack who had the city of New York help build the new stadium with its luxury boxes and who helped engineer the sale of the teams television rights to Fox Entertainment. It was never about the money for the late George Steinbrenner. It was always about winning at any cost. Now it is only about the money. Randy Levine as the President of the Yankees should stop hiding and admit that this Yankee team is his creation. It is not Cashman’s. Like the person who hides behind his mothers skirt, he is afraid to take responsibility for his mistakes.

  7. The Yankees got a huge break with acquiring Soriano. He may not be the best left fielder ever but his ability to hit for average and his home run power is enough. Not only that his ability to be a D.H. will be huge for the Yanks. The Cubs will be paying the majority of his 18 million dollar contract next year, which means Yankee’s management did the right think at not spending big money on a player which they have had problems in the past about. And the prospect wasn’t much. A class a pitcher that has an ok fastball. Yankee’s fans can quit crying their team is still over .500 and can potentially turn things around, whereas the Cubs have 2 more years before they can think about the playoffs. The trade for Soriano was probably the best trade by any team so far this season and I wish Soriano the best of luck in New York.

    • Gotta take exception to you stating or implying that Soriano hits for a high average. Soriano does not hit for an exceptional average.
      Soriano is a .270 career hitter who has hit .300 just once in 13 full seasons. That’s a little bit above average. (In 2012, his last full season, he hit just .262).
      With 390 dingers already to his credit, there is no disputing that he’s a great power hitter, however.

  8. That’s a “Clown” question bro!…..
    … Baseball is NOT a one man game….. Got it??? hehehehehehehe

  9. If you don’t like the prices, go watch the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Trenton Thunder. Most fans on a blind test could barely tell the difference. With a team like the Yanks you get a lot of chances to see major leaguers on rehab. When fans vote with their feet, the prices will go down.

    • With prices for tickets, parking or public transportation, food and memorabilia being what they are, most families of four or five budget only one outing to a major league game all season. The Yankees hardly have a monopoly among major league teams on inflated, outrageous prices.

        • Sorry, but I hear that all the time. It goes something along the lines of “We really love baseball but our family can only afford to go once, or at most twice a year to MLB ball games with today’s prices. ”
          That’s just an economic fact of life these days.

          PS: A family of five equals two parents and three children. Which is about an average-sized family in the USA.

  10. For all those Yankee haters out there continue to dream about your team reaching 27 World Series Championships then when you are done dreaming wake the hell up keep your mouth shut and watch the Yankees win another one…

    • I agree–the Yankees have the most championships of any team in any sport! try and match that Yankee haters!

      • Bro.. it’s not about the past 27 World Series title. It’s about the Yankees’ future and the impact of the owner’s decision to “improve” the team. Yankees’ bat is struggling. The only pitcher in their rotation is Kuroda. What else are we gonna expect to come out for the rest of the season?
        “That’s a CLOWN question Bro…” – #34

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  12. With Cashman’s obsession about reducing payroll and not having to pay a luxury tax, Yankee fans will experience something this year or in 2014 they haven’t known since 1992: an under .500 season.

  13. They brought back Soriano a few days ago and brought back Jeter yesterday, so who can we expect back in the coming week? …….. Jason Giambi?

    • After watching Giambi’s towering, majestic walk off home run to straightaway centerfield last night for Cleveland, bringing back Giambi to the NYY wouldn’t be such a bad thing to do! I hope you’re reading this Mr. Cashman!

      P.S.: The Giambino needs just 8 hits for 2,000 career hits and yesterday’s blast was HR # 436 for his career.

      • I just like The Giambino despite his 7 year association with “The Evil Empire”.

  14. Pettitte, Soriano, Jeter ….These old guys might rise to the occasion once in a while, but at 37 or older the odds are against them. If I was a Yankees fan I wouldn’t count on too many outcomes like yesterday’s!

    • You’re really cool, Dennis O! Keep making awesome well thought out points! All of NY cares what you have to say!

      • This is a national board. Not a New York Yankees board. Get used to the fact that not everybody thinks the way you do, Dad!

      • I love arguing with Yankees fans. With their overbearing pride about the Yankees history it makes them such easy targets and very easy to tear apart their lame arguments..
        If you must talk Yankees history, let’s talk recent history. The Yankees have won only 1 out of the last 12 World’s Titles and they have a miniscule chance of making it 2 out of the last 13.

  15. It’s amazing that throughout this horrible Yankees season not much, if any, narrative has been given to Kevin Long’s lack of accountability. Without doubt on any other contending team he would have been gone by now. Why is he still here?

    • Plus the offensive collapse in last year’s postseason. I was surprised to see him back in 2013 in the first place.

    • look what kevin long had to work with he did not all of a sudden forgot how to coach hitting they have had pretty much the best offence since he has been there talent wins games not people who were who were good in 2006

      • Oh, I didn’t know a teams past meant how good they are at present. 27 championships has nothing to do with the current Yankee squad. So please, get over the 27 championships.

  16. The Yankees aren’t finished making deadline moves in my opinion. I think Hughes and Chamberlain for Michael Young is about 70% more likely after the Phillies were all but eliminated from the playoff picture this weekend losing three straight by a combined score of 24-8 to the Tigers. The Phillies will very likely be sellers now that they’re for all intents and purposes finished for the year. Michael Young is the perfect third baseman for the Yankees and having Young, Jeter, Cano, Ichiro, Soriano, Granderson and Gardner in the lineup would really supercharge the Yankees offense.

    • You’d probably be overpaying to get M. Young, but I think the Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would take that deal in a heartbeat. They’d probably even throw in their other Young (Delmon).

      • Whether they deal with the Yankees, Red Sox, send him back to the Rangers, or trade him to another team I think Michael Young’s days in Phladelphia will probably end by July 31. They have AAA all-star thirdbaseman, Cody Asche that is about ready for “The Show” so Young’s departure will pave the way for Asche’s call up. Besides, Young has one of the worst fielding ranges of any starting third baseman in the majors this year.

    • I just read that the Yankees didn’t get a single call about Hughes or Chamberlain. Nobody wants them. not even for a bag of balls. It looks like the Yankees will have to trade Gary Sanchea if they want to get Young and Ruiz. After Jesus Montero tanked so horribly with Seattle so much for the reliability of Yankee catching prospects. With Young ans Ruiz age isn’t a factor because they’re durability is phenomenal. They never get hurt.

  17. I would trade Hughes for a good mascot! and feel like I got the better of the deal. Hire one of the “Bleacher Creatures”, put him/her in a pinstripe chicken outfit, parade the chicken up and down the dugout, and Hey – attendance would go up Jack.

  18. This guy Bernhardt is a real “Yankee Hater”. He can not see the forest for the trees.
    He is either a Red Sox fan , or a Cub fan.

    • There are a lot of Yankee haters out there. It’s because they have a history of having much more money than anyone else and simply bought whatever they wanted. As a Dodger fan I can say I repsect what the Giants have done recently more than what the Yankees did from ’27 -’78.

  19. Phil Hughes for Rios and throw in Joba that way the contracts pretty much match

  20. Not sure what the big “mistake” is. The Yanks got Soriano for a song and a dance and his numbers alone show that he is an improvement from the crap they’ve been throwing out there from the right side of the plate. The fact is that he, along with Jeter and eventually Granderson dramatically change the Yankees lineup and offer protection for Cano, Gardner…hell…even Overbay. To me, it’s a no brainer to pick up Soriano…especially with Chicago paying 90% of the remainder of his salary.

    Sounds like the writer here is a Yankee hater and not thinking.

  21. Red Sox fans have a suggestion for renaming Yankee Stadium : Dinasour Park.

  22. This columnist is a disgrace why publish a story like this Jonathan Bernhardt. Babe Ruth is looking down upon this person (Jonathan Bernhardt) with the look of yankees pride all the way.. All i have to say is (28) and jealousy always shines through. Do u really have nothing to write about in baseball so many tell tale story’s to tell about so many underrated players write a column on Allen Craig. Jonathan Bernhardt How do u even have a job you are a disgrace to the game of baseball and all of its players and people involved of past present and the future.

  23. Yanks deserve credit for hanging in the race. They have done it with mirrors. As the author said: no team has enough depth to replace five veteran starting position players and still play championship baseball. CC is either hurt or just wearing out….same with Andy (after all he is 41). So the Yanks face at least 3 tough years until all the big contracts age off. Also they play in the toughest division in MLB….Yankee fans have a lot of great recent memories but…time start the reload. Also, not sure Cano will be signed…It depends on the years more than the $ imo.

  24. The Yankees are the team more ugly. Its success just depends of the money, always, since Ruth

  25. No, Soriano couldn’t do it himself. Combined with Jeter he did a pretty damn good job though, didn’t he? And once the rest of the crew gets healthy and comes back, then all bets are off.

  26. About 50 games left in the season and they’re what 7.5 out. Enough talk for me. This is why I stay out of these forums. Because people are too stupid. (yankee haters). we’ll see at the end of the season when they make the play-offs. I’ll be back then to read the comments from the Yankee haters. Oh!!! and guest what? I still think they are going to win the AL east. Now get with that and I’ll be back.

  27. Don’t count on next year either. Hal is channeling Michael Burke and CBS. It was his choice and is his responsibility that the Yankees suck. He could not, of course, know that so many starters would go down. However, when you look at those starters, as well as the starting pitching, it was obvious in spring training that this team was going no where. Many people, myself included, said so. Smart trading, coupled with a desire to win, might have improved things immensely. They are not out of the running officially even now. But even if some of the regulars return, it will not fix the hugely iffy starting pitching. As for the starters, do I need to remind everyone how this team functions once the playoffs come round? The hitting stops, dead. There used to be a joke about the Red Sox becoming the Manilla Folders. That joke is now a truism for the Yankees. There is an occasional flash, such as Ibanez last year, but consistent clutch hitting is anathema to this team with all of the starters in place. The hitters hit in streaks, the home runs are practically gone, the team has not been good at rallies in this decade. Add to that just one dependable starting pitcher, and you have a good candidate for a last place finish. The responsibility all rests exactly where it should, with Hal, Mr. Penny Wise and Pound Foolish. He made the decision to jettison this team, and he has succeeded. Halladay should be in pinstripes, Lee should be in pinstripes, the new Cuban should be in pinstripes. Any number of options would now be in pinstripes if the owner gave the slightest priority to fielding a winning club. But, as with most short sighted people, Hal thinks saving money in the short run will be a good thing. If he ever changes his mind (or, please G-d sells the team) it will be fun luring all of the season ticket holders back. Deliberately pushing short term profit over providing a decent product is a losing proposition in the long run.

    • First of all the Cubans name is Puig and yes and they missed out on Cespedes (not sure of the spelling) and a few other players but the Yankees have been very clutch this decade including last season. You Yankee haters hate when they win and every year they make the play-offs you Yankee haters do think they are going to win it all. You expect as much as Yankee fans. But who wins it all ever year. No one! Look at the Giants and Cardinals now. You see the Yankees are in the play-offs ever year and other baseball fans pray their team can become the Mighty Yankees because you have to been in the play-offs in order to win the World Series but look at the last ten seasons alone. What teams other then the Yankees are in the play-offs ever year. NO ONE!!!
      And another thing, the Yankees pitching is not the worst in the league in fact they’re amoung the top. If we had our regular boys back the stories would be very different. They have the best bull pen. All we need is just a couple more of the boys to come back. Grandy, Mark and the Yankees have a great future ahead of them with great up and coming stars. What! how do you think they keep building dynasty’s. Other teams develope great players, Yankees develope great winners.

      • It’s the pinstipes baby!
        LETS GO YANKEES!!!
        Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap!!!

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