• Is Rafael Soriano A Slacker?

    Posted by on April 6th, 2011 · Comments (20)

    Joel Sherman suggests that maybe he phoned it in last night -

    After his first meltdown as a Yankee, which led to a 5-4 Minnesota triumph in 10 innings last night, [Rafael] Soriano vanished. He never came to his locker. A flustered Yankees media relations official conceded Soriano probably dressed quickly and departed, leaving others to explain his ineffectiveness.

    This would not be quite as big a deal if Soriano’s reputation were closer to pristine. But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit. Last year he expected, for example, to be deployed only for a full inning in save situations.

    There were members of the Rays who felt, for example, that Soriano did not invest fully when asked to pitch the ninth inning of a 3-1 deficit of Game 3 of last year’s Division Series against the Rangers. That was an elimination game.

    Thus, when his attention and fastball seem off, there is natural wonder if Soriano does not think 4-0 in the eighth inning is worth his full attention. That would have been among the questions asked had he handled last night with professionalism. Instead, he fled, leaving uncertainty if this was a singular poor effort for a talented pitcher or a bad omen for a bad actor.

    “I think he was there mentally,” said Russell Martin, among those answering questions in Soriano’s absence. “He was throwing the ball with conviction, I think.”

    What do you think?

    Comments on Is Rafael Soriano A Slacker?

    1. MJ Recanati
      April 6th, 2011 | 9:14 am

      To engage in this sort of discussion is to give credence to the typically absurd nonsense that Joel Sherman constantly points out.

      Soriano’s shit won’t fly in New York and it’ll be Jeter’s, Rivera’s, Posada’s and Girardi’s job to get him in line. But we absolutely can’t presume to know if he was mailing it in last night just because the results were poor.

    2. April 6th, 2011 | 10:12 am

      For all we know, Russell Martin uses “I think” as a crutch, the way some people say “you know.” For Sherman to make something out of that quote is silly.

      And one man’s “reclusive” is another man’s “shy.”

      At any rate, I guess Sherman has a great future ahead of him in mind-reading if the Post folds!

    3. Raf
      April 6th, 2011 | 12:51 pm

      I think Soriano had a bad game. It happens. I was in the other room, I heard some commentary about how a couple of close calls went the hitter’s way. Is that true? I did see Young’s hit land in front of a diving Swisher, that was just some bad luck on Robertson’s part.

      What may be of more concern is Girardi’s answers during the post game report about how Soriano’s the “eighth inning guy.” Would’ve made more sense to start Robertson, would’ve made more sense to call Mo in when Soriano was struggling.

    4. MJ Recanati
      April 6th, 2011 | 1:57 pm

      Raf wrote:

      I heard some commentary about how a couple of close calls went the hitter’s way. Is that true?

      Not really. See the last chart on the bottom of this page and you’ll see that he actually wasn’t locating well enough to get any calls.

      http://tinyurl.com/5txcoo4

      Raf wrote:

      I did see Young’s hit land in front of a diving Swisher, that was just some bad luck on Robertson’s part.

      Yep. Swisher had too far to go to have a chance at that ball and still came a few steps from making it. Bloops happen.

      Raf wrote:

      What may be of more concern is Girardi’s answers during the post game report about how Soriano’s the “eighth inning guy.” Would’ve made more sense to start Robertson, would’ve made more sense to call Mo in when Soriano was struggling.

      Absolutely right. Girardi’s bullpen usage has left me perplexed on more than one occasion.

    5. Evan3457
      April 6th, 2011 | 3:56 pm

      If Soriano IS a slacker, does Cashman get the blame for signing him, too?

    6. redbug
      April 6th, 2011 | 4:55 pm

      Accordong to LoHud:

      “Rafael Soriano stood at his locker and apologized to the media for not speaking after he did the heavy lifting in blowing CC Sabathia’s masterpiece in the eighth inning. He said he was just upset about what had just happened and didn’t want to speak. His agent, Scott Boras, told him that he needs to face reporters no matter what happens. Joe Girardi talked to him as well”

      It’s good he apologized. As Mj said, it’s Jeter’s, Rivera’s, Posada’s and Girardi’s job to get him in line. Sounds like they, and Boras, told him what life in NY is like.

      It’s OK to have a bad night. If I was managing the club, I wouldn’t have even had him there to start the 8th, but what’s done is done. Just say it was a bad night and call it a day.

    7. #15
      April 6th, 2011 | 5:45 pm

      @ Raf:
      Right on the money about Girardi. I know he didn’t walk anyone, but he did not leverage his bullpen options effectively last night. Robertson was rested and already warmed up. If Robertson had an easy 8th, run him back out their for the 9th and call it a night. If not, move up the depth chart. I don’t find fault with how he pitched at all. DR gave up an excuse me double that just found a hole.

      Joe should have gone to Robertson to start the 8th. That was the right move. Logan offered situational options if needed and So and Mo if it got tight. Instead, once he’d gone to Soriano “because he’s our 8th inning guy” (a lame answer leading 4-0 at home), he was committed to let him try to work out of it. Would he have used the same logic if it was 6-0? 7-0? As a result, he burned Soriano and probably Mo for tonight, in a game where he’ll probably need bullpen help. Joe blew it last night and maybe for tonight too.

      Bad form to hit the door when you fail on the field. Good form to correct it in a timely manner. I thought Soriano might have gotten squeezed on a pitch or two, but he was not sharp and didn’t get the close calls.

    8. 77yankees
      April 6th, 2011 | 8:10 pm

      I think this is just another example of how the media will immediately pile on a guy who doesn’t talk to them or give them what they want. George King still apparently hasn’t gotten over Carl Pavano after three years, though every Yankee fan seems to have long forgotten about it.

      I couldn’t care less if a player blows off the media for an interview. Some of these news hacks need to grow up and do their job like a professional without an ax to grind.

    9. clintfsu813
      April 7th, 2011 | 9:12 am

      #15 wrote:

      As a result, he burned Soriano and probably Mo for tonight, in a game where he’ll probably need bullpen help. Joe blew it last night and maybe for tonight too.

      It looks like the rainout may have been a blessing in this regard.

    10. MJ Recanati
      April 7th, 2011 | 9:17 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      If Soriano IS a slacker, does Cashman get the blame for signing him, too?

      Of course. Don’t you know how the system works? :-D

    11. April 7th, 2011 | 9:53 am

      More on this -

      Rafael Soriano stood at his locker Wednesday afternoon, discussing his disastrous outing Tuesday night and issuing an apology to the reporters he stood up following the Yankees’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Twins.

      “I apologize that I didn’t talk to you guys last night,” Soriano said. “The reason I didn’t do it was that I got mad because that was a game CC (Sabathia) was supposed to win and it didn’t happen. I wasn’t comfortable talking to you guys. I know I’m supposed to talk to you guys, so for me, it won’t happen again.”

      Soriano’s mea culpa came at the urging of the Yankees, who relayed their feelings to the pitcher earlier in the day through agent Scott Boras. General manager Brian Cashman and president Randy Levine both reached out to Boras to discuss the situation, prompting the agent to call his client.

      “He’s new to this market, so like everything else, you live and you learn,” Cashman said of Soriano. “We have to bang out some kinks, and that was one. It’s not a major one, but it is one nonetheless.

      “Dealing with the press is important, and it’s an aspect that’s important also on behalf of teammates. A lot of little things can, but they can add up to be a big thing down the line that nobody needs, especially him. It’s just something you have to deal with, for better or for worse, even if it’s not easy.”

      Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2011/04/07/2011-04-07_rafael_soriano_apologizes_at_urging_of_yankees_brass_for_avoiding_media_after_tu.html#ixzz1IqiOO2XS

    12. Raf
      April 7th, 2011 | 10:41 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      General manager Brian Cashman and president Randy Levine both reached out to Boras to discuss the situation…

      Heh.

      Not one, or the other, but both… :P

    13. clintfsu813
      April 7th, 2011 | 11:04 am

      I wonder how much Manny is speaking to the Tampa media?

    14. Greg H.
      April 7th, 2011 | 11:11 am

      #15 wrote:

      Joe should have gone to Robertson to start the 8th. That was the right move. Logan offered situational options if needed and So and Mo if it got tight. Instead, once he’d gone to Soriano “because he’s our 8th inning guy” (a lame answer leading 4-0 at home), he was committed to let him try to work out of it.

      I tend to agree with this criticism, and was surprised to see Soriano come out. BUT, whatever the strategy, Soriano IS the 8th inning guy. What I saw was: he came out nibbling/not locating with a 4 run lead. Joe puts his main guy in there to nail down the first game of this series. Once he’s in there it’s Soriano’s game and with a 4 run lead, his job is to challenge the hitters in the strike zone, which he did not do.

    15. #15
      April 7th, 2011 | 11:27 am

      @ clintfsu813:

      Gift from the Gods.

      Not a good strategy, but I’ll take it every time.

      Should have the whole pen available for tonight if needed.

    16. MJ Recanati
      April 7th, 2011 | 2:00 pm

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I wonder how much Manny is speaking to the Tampa media?

      I don’t know but I’m sure they’re giving him a pass, just like every other city has given him a pass. For the kind of on-field bullshit Manny craps out of his ass, it’s amazing how none of it ever gets called.

    17. MJ Recanati
      April 7th, 2011 | 2:03 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Soriano IS the 8th inning guy

      And therein lies the problem. When you’re so conventional and rigid in your approach, you sacrifice games for no reason.

      I realize that, hierarchically, Soriano is the 8th inning guy. But baseball is a dynamic game where you can make several choices without constantly adhering to a blind formula. Having pitched Soriano the night before, having had Robertson warmed up and rested, there was no reason for Girardi to be so formulaic.

    18. #15
      April 7th, 2011 | 2:12 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:

      Exactly what I was trying to say…. Joe failed to leverage his bullpen options leading 4-0 at home.

    19. Raf
      April 7th, 2011 | 3:55 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Having pitched Soriano the night before…

      Even more of a reason to let him rest, especially in the context of Soriano’s arm problems. If it were a “save” situation I could understand the call.

      At any rate, it’s water under the bridge; I’m sure there’ll be more puzzling moves in the future.

    20. Greg H.
      April 7th, 2011 | 5:33 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I totally agree that bringing Robertson out would have been better. That said, once Soriano is out there, I expect him to throw strikes and challenge guys. I don’t give Soriano a pass for that performance, even though the manager made a suspect move.

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