With the Yankees having now signed Rafael Soriano, I have to point out what Bill Madden wrote the other day -
The word is out on Soriano, whose refusal to take the ball on occasion or pitch more than one inning incurred the wrath of Rays manager Joe Maddon. Cashman, who has been burned too often on big-money contracts to set-up relievers in the past (Steve Karsay, Kyle Farnsworth, Damaso Marte) is also loathe to give up a No. 1 draft pick for Soriano, who’s a Type A free agent. He said flat out Friday he won’t do it.
And, I also want to point out what Mark Simon had to share on the pitcher as well -
The one warning sign that comes with Soriano is this: Some of his peripheral numbers weren’t as good as they have been in the past, such as his strikeouts per nine innings rate, which dropped from 12.1 in 2009 to 8.2 in 2010.
The Rays also did a particularly good job at turning his batted balls into outs. Opponents hit .212 when putting the ball into play last season, an 85-point drop from 2009. It’s rare for a pitcher to be able to pitch to a number that low, though Soriano also did it previously with the Atlanta Braves in 2007.
Soriano’s status as a fly ball pitcher may cause a little concern with his coming to Yankee Stadium, considering that 67 percent of the balls in play against him were hit in the air. He allowed six home runs in 2010 (four in the regular season), though three of them cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet or landed less than one fence-height beyond the fence, according to work done for HittrackerOnline.
Soriano’s contract is the second-largest given to a free agent reliever not named Rivera, in terms of average annual value. Rivera has netted a pair of $15 million per year deals. The only other pitcher to get a bigger contract will be pitching across the river from Soriano — Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez (three years, $12.33 million per).
Oh, and, then there’s the whole untucking of the shirt thing when he’s done with his inning of work:
So, in Rafael Soriano, the Yankees may have signed a combination of Kyle Farnsworth (won’t pitch more than an inning or on back-to-back days), K-Rod (too many on-field histrionics) and Billy Taylor (save numbers hide fact that ballpark and defense aided his numbers). And, they’re paying him huge bucks too (“second-largest given to a free agent reliever not named Rivera”). Attaboy Cashman.