In the case that you have yet to hear the news, the Yankees have agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Rafael Soriano worth $35M over the course of three years. The deal includes opt out options for Soriano after each year of the deal, but that doesn’t really benefit the Yankees in any way. Obviously Soriano will improve the 2011 team, however, his deal could significantly hamper the Yankees in 2012 and 2013. I’m not a fan of this deal because of the inflexibility it brings to the roster and the payroll, but there is something that I feel would make it better deal.
The signing of Soriano obviously affects Joba Chamberlain. With Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano manning the ninth and eight inning, Joba is left as either a seventh or sixth inning pitcher, depending on David Robertson. The only thing more wasteful for Joba than putting him in the bullpen is to have in such an unimportant role. It is time for the Yankees to do something with Chamberlain. I advocate that the Yankees either trade Joba or give him a shot at the rotation which sorely needs help, preferably the latter. Let’s all remember, Joba is only 25 years old, with plenty of room to develop into a great starter. But even if you believe Joba has reached his ceiling, there is no denying that he is better than Sergio Mitre. The Yankees have been looking for starters all offseason because they aren’t comfortable with both Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre being in the prospective rotation, but they have had a viable starter right in their hands their whole time in Joba, and now with the Soriano signing, it is time to move Joba to the rotation.
Cashman against Soriano signing?
Just a few days prior to the signing of Rafael Soriano, Brian Cashman specifically said he would not give up the Yankees 31st pick in the 2011 draft to sign anyone. However, in signing Soriano, the Yankees did just that. So did Cashman have a change of heart? Well, according to Buster Olney the signing was “ownership-driven.” Peter Gammons takes this further and says that team president Randy Levine was directly responsible for the Soriano deal. What does this all mean? Well, if ownership did really go over Cashman’s head, then it is an ominous sign. Remember, Brian Cashman did not take full control of the team until 2005, and it is clear that prior to that, when the ownership was running the team, many unwise moves were made and the farm system was ignored. Then again in 2007, ownership led by Hank Steinbrenner went over Cashman’s head and signed Alex Rodriguez the monstrous ten-year deal he is currently serving. Hopefully, this doesn’t start becoming a patter, because if it does I fear what could happen to the Yankees.