The Aftermath of the Soriano Signing

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.

"Joba's talent is wasted in the bullpen." (Getty Images via Daylife)


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.

8 thoughts on “The Aftermath of the Soriano Signing

  1. It is officially done. The press conference is tomorrow at 10 a.m. e.s.t.! I know Joba Chamberlain should be given a chance in the rotation because I am agreeing with your statement that he is better than Mitre. Unless the Yankees goes out and sign a Freddy Garcia that I am not thrilled or a Kevin Millwood type.

    • Well, unfortunately it looks like Joba is stuck in the bullpen, barring a trade. Just today, Cashman restated Joba’s role as a reliever. Still, what I would like to know is what has changed since the end of 2010 spring training when Joba was called a starter in the bullpen to now when he seems to be strictly a reliever.

      I strongly believe that Joba would be a better starter than any of the other available options including Garcia and Millwood. Did you hear that the Yankees had offered Pavano a contract this offseason? I guess he’d be better than Mitre, but that’s irrelevant now.

  2. I heard Carl Pavano is going back to the Minnesota Twins. Is there any secret injuries or they don’t want to mess with Joba again with the back and forth of the rotation and the bullpen and having an inning limit?

    • Yes, it does seem that Pavano is set on returning to the Twins, it’s just interesting that the Yankees did offer him a contract earlier this off season.

      The injury conspiracy seems to be much talked about with Joba, but I’m not sure I can believe it. There is no evidence that being a reliever is less stressful on the arm (in fact, it may be more stressful with the the rapid warm-ups, etc…) so if he does have an injury there is no reason to believe that relieving will prevent it from popping up better than starting would. Furthermore, people like to point to the shoulder tendinitis that he suffered in 2008. But, if he is still carrying that tendinitis (which generally isn’t a big deal) and it is the reason for keeping him in the bullpen, why did he start in 2009? In addition, Joba entered 2010 spring training as a starter, and from that point on he has not missed any time with an injury so the whole injury conspiracy seems to be flawed. I don’t know why I am wasting my time discussing this so much, the Yankees seem so stubborn to keep Joba in the bullpen and without a valid reason they look foolish. I personally feel that keeping Joba in the bullpen is the worst decision that the Yankees have continually made in the past decade or so. Sorry for the rant, it’s just frustrating that the Yankees are looking for starters and they have a viable one right in their bullpen.

  3. I see your point. But I got no clue why they are stubborn with Joba being only a reliever. I know he was a starting pitcher in the minor league. I get that. But I know some Yankees fan are frustrated and look at only the results. But it takes time for a young pitcher to be a good major league starter if the projections hold right such as Roy Halladay who needed to get sent down to A-ball after his career didn’t start so well. Like three to four seasons.

    • I guess for people like you and I, who seem to have some patience, it is easy to see the irrationality in people being frustrated at Joba’s results, but there are so many Yankees fans who seem to have no patience whatsoever. I guess all fan bases have these impatient fans, but they seem to very abundant in the Yankee Universe.

      It was not long ago that we all believed that Joba had the potential to be an “ace”, but after being messed around with for a couple years and not winning the CY Young award, so many have given up on Joba. It’s ridiculous, yes, but what is even more troublesome is that the front office may very well have given up on him by sticking him in the bullpen. Or they just really overvalue relievers. Or a little bit of both.

  4. Definitely. But I know the prospects in the Yankees farm system are not ready. Such as Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. The only one that could contribute maybe is Hector Noesi.

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