Yankees sign Rafael Soriano

Ugh. It’s a 3/$35mil deal. For a relief pitcher.

I do not like this deal at all. $35mil for a relief pitcher? Are you kidding me?

The deal is also tricky. Soriano has the chance to opt out after 2011 and 2012. So in his 2011 he will make $11.5mil. If he stays he will make $10mil in 2012. If he stays again he will make $13.5mil in 2013.

So basically Soriano controls his own destiny, instead of the team, and he could potentially screw us over.

Don’t get me wrong, Rafael Soriano is a nice pitcher. His K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 are all fantastic. His FIP and xFIP are great as well. But look at it this way…if $ per WAR in 2011 is $4.5mil, Soriano would need to post a 2.6 WAR to justify his contract. Only thing is, he’s posted a WAR above 2 in his career. Moreover, I have a tough time saying he is worth more to the Yankees so even if Soriano doesn’t produce 2.5 WAR he is still worth it. For one, on paper we are more than 2 wins worse than Boston. So even if Soriano is a 1.5-2 win upgrade over our worst bullpen member (like a Sergio Mitre), he doesn’t provide enough of an upgrade to make the large signing worth it. It might help us in the Wild Card, but I would say the goal is to build a roster that will win the division (and as a result, the World Series as well).

Moreover, one can’t argue he’s worth more since he’d be pitching high leverage situations. He will be our SET UP MAN. $35MIL FOR A SET UP MAN. Yes, sometimes the eight can be a high leverage situation. Yes, sometimes the eighth might be the most important part of the game. But that’s not the case as much as it is the case in the ninth. I will say it is nice because now Mo can become a one and done ninth inning pitcher, which could prolong his career, improve his health/endurance over the season, and thus make him more effective later in the season. But is that benefit worth $35mil? I can’t see it.

The opt outs have potential to be good, and the potential to be. If Soriano has a great 2011 and opts out, the Yankees will probably get two drafts. Considering we are losing a first rounder in a loaded 2011 to sign Soriano, it would be good compensation to receive a year of Soriano+2 future draft picks. If he is good and stays, I wouldn’t complain since his contract in 2012 is lower and would be more likely to be worth the money in that season. BUT, what if he sucks in 2011? He will opt to comeback and again we will overpay for a reliever and NOT receive any draft picks. The same theory can be applied for the second opt-out.

So yeah, I hate the deal. I will root for him obviously and he DOES make the Yankees better so I am glad in that sense he is a Yankee. But it’s bad business and a bad contract. $10-$13mil a year may not be a lot for the Yankees to play a person per season, but that make it okay to throw it out the window. That’s money that could go to the draft, international signings, a potential trade, or future FA signing. Moreover, in 2013 we already have $122mil on the books for SIX PLAYERS. Add in Soriano and that’s $135.5mil tied up in SEVEN PLAYERS. WoW.


Hopefully, this means Joba Chamberlain to the rotation. I didn’t want to, because his mind is just being toyed with at this point. I figure it will be best to let him reliever another year or two, let him become established, and then bring him back to the rotation. But the signing opens up the door for a Joba return to the rotation. His career high in innings is 157, from 2009, so using Cashman’s +40 innings rule, Joba would be good to go for 200 innings in the rotation. He is a better option than anyone else on the market or in-house and while staying in the pen would give us a NASTY pen, he holds more value and will help the team win more pitching innings 1-6 rather than just inning seven.




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2 Comments on “Yankees sign Rafael Soriano”

  1. harold Says:

    WAR should not be applied to bullpen pitching brother. Especially in a role OTHER than the closer position. In fact any pitcher can be a closer, which is just pitching in a certain inning with a lead of 3 or 4 runs. The bullpen pitcher is not goin every five days not directly contributing to wins on a specific basis. The manager can fall out of favor with the bullpen pitcher, injury, or a more effective bullpen pitcher can take over duties. These are reasons why WAR is a vague thing to predict, and only a stat that is reliable to gauge effectiveness AFTER the season. A good stat to measure as a set up man would possibly be men left on base when entering and leaving an inning. WHIP. very valuable for one inning specialists. AVG against lefties for soriano is a righty. Lefty slugging against as well as On base percentage allowed which could possibly be allocated with WHIP.

  2. harold Says:

    the 8th inning is only a high leverage inning if the pitcher allows it to be. Theoretically the setup man is brought in with a lead, consider defensive replacements. The win probability is pretty high. Rarely will the set up man be brought into a perfect 1.000 LEV as in the start of the game where the game can swing either way. Soriano will be brought in beginning of the inning with a lead and possibly defensive substitutions in the outfield and hopefully shortstop. Potentially leverage isnt high. Which goes to show he IS payed too much, for any reliever can come into a lower leverage situation and get the job done.

    However it is the Yankees they can afford it every year. Considering the revenue they bring in by the second, his costs will be covered in no time. Through merchandising, YES Network, the Stock Market, and the multiple Yankee sponsors that are under contract with the team that lend a share of their profit to the Yankees.

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