• Not Liking The Yankees New Set-Up Man Already

    Posted by on January 14th, 2011 · Comments (29)

    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.

    Comments on Not Liking The Yankees New Set-Up Man Already

    1. Raf
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:04 am

      I don’t care about what the guys @ ESPN & the NYDN say, their analysis is usually hollow.

      What bugs me is Soriano’s elbow (which may explain the “Farnsworth Rules”), and that the Rays get another pick in a loaded draft.

    2. MJ Recanati
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:20 am

      I don’t care about Soriano’s untucked shirt. Surely there are bigger, more important issues to worry about. His health, his contract, the fact that the Yankees are building a very curious team this year.

      Giving the Rays two more picks in a loaded draft doesn’t impact our lives as much as giving up the one draft pick does. But it definitely isn’t good knowing that the Rays have 8 picks in the first 57 and will be able to afford 5-6 polished, college players to add to their bumper crop of prospects. Their next championship window (starting in 2012-2013) will last a lot longer than their last one (2008-2010).

    3. Raf
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:22 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Their next championship window (starting in 2012-2013) will last a lot longer than their last one (2008-2010).

      I don’t think that window has closed yet.

    4. MJ Recanati
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:32 am

      Raf wrote:

      I don’t think that window has closed yet.

      They’re not contending this year without Crawford and Pena in the lineup. Apart from Longoria, their lineup is in shambles.

      The rotation will be just a hair weaker this year without Garza’s dependable production (and the learning curve that goes with breaking in a rookie like Hellickson) but they just won’t score enough runs to truly contend in my opinion. And we haven’t even gotten to the major turnover in their bullpen yet.

    5. jrk
      January 14th, 2011 | 12:38 pm

      LoHud has good analysis:

      http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2011/01/14/does-making-the-yankees-better-make-this-a-good-deal/

      On another note, Francis signed with the A’s for $2M + $2M in incentives. Explain to me why the Yankees don’t think a $2M base salary is worth a shot when our rotation is the weakest link as of now? Talk about misallocating resources. Even if you do sign Soriano, give him $4M less (which no other team would still come near), and you get Francis free! (compared to Soriano’s current contract).
      Absurd.

    6. Scout
      January 14th, 2011 | 12:57 pm

      I am now officially chagrined and disappointed by the Yankees’ off-season, 2010-2011.

    7. January 14th, 2011 | 12:59 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      They’re not contending this year without Crawford and Pena in the lineup. Apart from Longoria, their lineup is in shambles.The rotation will be just a hair weaker this year without Garza’s dependable production (and the learning curve that goes with breaking in a rookie like Hellickson) but they just won’t score enough runs to truly contend in my opinion. And we haven’t even gotten to the major turnover in their bullpen yet.

      Agreed on thier bullpen. But, I think their rotation will be fine. And, yes, losing Crawford hurts. But, they have Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and Justin Ruggiano in the wings. And, I would not be shocked to see Dan Johnson and Ben Zobrist play 1B and make up for all-or-nothing Pena. Plus, they can add a bat like Johnny Damon, most likely, cheap and late once ST starts.

    8. January 14th, 2011 | 12:59 pm

      Scout wrote:

      I am now officially chagrined and disappointed by the Yankees’ off-season, 2010-2011.

      More so than 2009-2010?

    9. Evan3457
      January 14th, 2011 | 1:52 pm

      Let’s not overreach here.

      Yes, Soriano is not as good as his recent record indicates. Yes, Yankee Stadium will cost him an extra 3-4 HR, probabaly. He’s an extreme flyball pitcher, and that plays to the strength of the Yankees’ defense, and against its weakness, the left side of the infield.

      He’s not a bad pitcher; he’s a GOOD pitcher, when healthy. He’ll definitely upgrade the pen.

      The problem is not that he stinks; he doesn’t. The problem is that he’s not worth what they’re paying him; not in $$$$, not in years. The problem is it’s the waste of a draft pick, and a +2 in high draft picks to a tough divisional rival.

      The problem is they could’ve signed Jon Rauch, gotten 85-90% of the performance, at not more than half the cost, and probably less, saved a draft pick, and kept the Rays from getting two more good prospects.

      That’s the problem here.

    10. Evan3457
      January 14th, 2011 | 1:54 pm

      Well, he would’ve signed with someone, so the Rays get their pick (at least one). But if a 2nd division team signed him, they’d get a #2 only, not a #1 plus a provisional #1.

    11. Raf
      January 14th, 2011 | 1:57 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      More so than 2009-2010?

      At least the moves that offseason made sense.

    12. Scout
      January 14th, 2011 | 1:58 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      More so than 2009-2010?

      Yes, much more so now. Last winter, I expected Vazquez to be a decent mid-rotation pitcher, I opposed the Johnson signing, and I was agnostic on Granderson. The team had fewer pressing needs and seemed to have filled in decently around the edges. (How these decisions worked out in practice is another matter; I’m just referring to my response at the time.) This year the team went into the off-season with major needs in the starting rotation and Cashman has failed to meet them. He’s spent a ton on the bull pen, an area where large investments in free agents rarely pay off. I believe adding Martin at catcher was a sound move, but not nearly enough to offset the rotation void. To me, Cashman to date has earned a failing grade for this off-season.

    13. UNC Tarheel
      January 14th, 2011 | 4:45 pm

      When are folks going to realize that the Yankees are not about draft picks and prospects. They are always going to use their best asset–cash–to build their team. That is why there haven’t been any down years in the past 15. They get what they need from year to year to compete, whatever it takes.

    14. Evan3457
      January 14th, 2011 | 5:39 pm

      UNC Tarheel wrote:

      When are folks going to realize that the Yankees are not about draft picks and prospects. They are always going to use their best asset–cash–to build their team. That is why there haven’t been any down years in the past 15. They get what they need from year to year to compete, whatever it takes.

      What they needed was a top starter.
      What they got was a set-up reliever.

      The two are not interchangeable. One does not replace the other.

      If getting Soriano helps them “compete”…for the post-season, it will be marginal, perhaps 2-3 wins at most. Lee would’ve be a 5-7 win improvement.

    15. Evan3457
      January 14th, 2011 | 5:40 pm

      Scout wrote:

      . To me, Cashman to date has earned a failing grade for this off-season.

      The pickup of Martin is defensible. The signing of Jeter was…unavoidable.

      Feliciano was a large overpay by percentage of value, but a small one on their overall budget.

      This pickup of Soriano is a moderately vast waste. I strain hard to find a defense for it, but I can’t see one.

    16. Scout
      January 14th, 2011 | 5:54 pm

      Now reports are flying around that the signing was ownership-driven and has Randy Levine’s fingerprints all over it. Not sure what that does to Cashman’s grade, though. It’s sort of like the kid who gets the “F” on his paper and then says he doesn’t deserve it because his parent wrote most of the assignment.

    17. 77yankees
      January 14th, 2011 | 7:39 pm

      On the surface, I would say it’s an improvement – it shores up the set up role and allows them to preserve Mo for 9th inning appearances only.

      But the move just reeks of desperation, as if “Gee, we just HAD to do something”.

    18. January 14th, 2011 | 9:45 pm

      I said this last weekend, the Yankees need this guy. It’s that simple.
      They lost both Wood and Andy, in every way possible the team got worse. The retreads being discussed this past week around here were not exciting options.

      This move does several things (1) gives the Yanks a plan B should Mariano start to decline (at 41 that could certainly happen) (2) gives the Yankees an opening to see if Joba can be salvaged as a starter. Joba is still a better option than Mitre or Nova. (3) gives the Yanks a strong 8th inning guy.

      Don’t worry about the resources, the Yanks have plenty; draft picks are a crapshoot, especially where the Yankees are concerned.

    19. January 14th, 2011 | 10:31 pm

      @ Scout:

      Based on what Cashman said previously, it probably was an ownership move. The team has had a very bad offseason, someone has a surprise off year, maybe an injury and we could have been looking at a 79-83 type season. If it was just the old fanny in the seats issue that would be one thing, but it is also how much money is generated once someone is already in the seat. An attendance drop of 7,000 or 8,000 a game the last 20 or so home dates and the Yanks could be looking at a revenue drop of 5 to 6 million.

    20. BOHAN
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:10 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The problem is not that he stinks; he doesn’t. The problem is that he’s not worth what they’re paying him; not in $$$$, not in years. The problem is it’s the waste of a draft pick, and a +2 in high draft picks to a tough divisional rival.

      i agree with the money part nut the draft pick part i dont really care about… im not that worried about a draft pick since its a complete crapshoot… look at the players on the team now there are what 4 or 5 1st rd picks on this team?? and if this draft is as deep as everyone says it is then it really shouldnt matter…
      Evan3457 wrote:

      What they needed was a top starter.

      other Lee who else is a top starter in this market??? and they offered lee the most money went where he wanted to go?? this was a weak market

    21. BOHAN
      January 14th, 2011 | 11:11 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I said this last weekend, the Yankees need this guy. It’s that simple.
      They lost both Wood and Andy, in every way possible the team got worse. The retreads being discussed this past week around here were not exciting options. This move does several things (1) gives the Yanks a plan B should Mariano start to decline (at 41 that could certainly happen) (2) gives the Yankees an opening to see if Joba can be salvaged as a starter. Joba is still a better option than Mitre or Nova. (3) gives the Yanks a strong 8th inning guy.Don’t worry about the resources, the Yanks have plenty; draft picks are a crapshoot, especially where the Yankees are concerned.

      well put

    22. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 1:43 am

      BOHAN wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      What they needed was a top starter.
      other Lee who else is a top starter in this market??? and they offered lee the most money went where he wanted to go?? this was a weak market

      There wasn’t one. The plan B patience is the only answer for that.

      Signing Soriano doesn’t answer it. That’s my point.

    23. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 1:45 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I said this last weekend, the Yankees need this guy. It’s that simple.
      They lost both Wood and Andy, in every way possible the team got worse. The retreads being discussed this past week around here were not exciting options.
      This move does several things (1) gives the Yanks a plan B should Mariano start to decline (at 41 that could certainly happen) (2) gives the Yankees an opening to see if Joba can be salvaged as a starter. Joba is still a better option than Mitre or Nova. (3) gives the Yanks a strong 8th inning guy.
      Don’t worry about the resources, the Yanks have plenty; draft picks are a crapshoot, especially where the Yankees are concerned.

      Well, no, they DIDN’T get worse in every way.
      They improved their catching situation, and signed a decent LH reliever. It doesn’t make up for losing Andy, but that horse was stolen when Lee signed with Philly.

      Draft picks are less of a crapshoot for the Rays, and the Yanks just handed them two MORE top picks to play with.

    24. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 10:56 am

      Scout wrote:

      Yes, much more so now. Last winter, I expected Vazquez to be a decent mid-rotation pitcher, I opposed the Johnson signing, and I was agnostic on Granderson. The team had fewer pressing needs and seemed to have filled in decently around the edges. (How these decisions worked out in practice is another matter; I’m just referring to my response at the time.) This year the team went into the off-season with major needs in the starting rotation and Cashman has failed to meet them. He’s spent a ton on the bull pen, an area where large investments in free agents rarely pay off. I believe adding Martin at catcher was a sound move, but not nearly enough to offset the rotation void. To me, Cashman to date has earned a failing grade for this off-season.

      I agree, totally.

    25. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:07 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      BOHAN wrote:Evan3457 wrote:
      What they needed was a top starter.
      other Lee who else is a top starter in this market??? and they offered lee the most money went where he wanted to go?? this was a weak market There wasn’t one. The plan B patience is the only answer for that.Signing Soriano doesn’t answer it. That’s my point.

      Yes, but if their plan is to move Joba into the starting rotation, they might have just solved their rotation issue.

    26. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:17 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Scout wrote:
      Yes, much more so now. Last winter, I expected Vazquez to be a decent mid-rotation pitcher, I opposed the Johnson signing, and I was agnostic on Granderson. The team had fewer pressing needs and seemed to have filled in decently around the edges. (How these decisions worked out in practice is another matter; I’m just referring to my response at the time.) This year the team went into the off-season with major needs in the starting rotation and Cashman has failed to meet them. He’s spent a ton on the bull pen, an area where large investments in free agents rarely pay off. I believe adding Martin at catcher was a sound move, but not nearly enough to offset the rotation void. To me, Cashman to date has earned a failing grade for this off-season.
      I agree, totally.

      Except it seems that Cashman was not on-board with the Soriano signing.

    27. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:18 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      BOHAN wrote:Evan3457 wrote:
      What they needed was a top starter.
      other Lee who else is a top starter in this market??? and they offered lee the most money went where he wanted to go?? this was a weak market There wasn’t one. The plan B patience is the only answer for that.Signing Soriano doesn’t answer it. That’s my point.
      Yes, but if their plan is to move Joba into the starting rotation, they might have just solved their rotation issue.

      If they move him there instead of leaving him in long/middle relief, and if he can stay healthy, and if Rothchild can get a consistently solid performance out of him.

      Three big ifs.

    28. LMJ229
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:24 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      If they move him there instead of leaving him in long/middle relief, and if he can stay healthy, and if Rothchild can get a consistently solid performance out of him.Three big ifs.

      Agreed. I’m not sold on the thought but I guess only time will tell. So now we are back to Cashman’s Plan B: Patience.

    29. Evan3457
      January 15th, 2011 | 11:38 am

      Again, I’m not saying Soriano won’t pitch well for them, he likely will, if he stays healthy.

      What I’m saying is that for $3-5 million less a year, they could’ve gotten Rauch, gotten 85-90% of Soriano’s performance, signed Duchscherer as a lottery ticket for the rotation, saved their #1 pick, and possibly kept the Rays from getting at least one additional high pick.

      If only they had stuck with Plan B a little longer.

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