Jan 14, 2011
Flash

I Hereby Dub You “The Closing Iano Brothers”

Do you remember when Joba Chamberlain was Mariano Rivera’s heir apparent? It’s been nearly four years and a swarm of midges since that sort of talk, so if you can’t – don’t waste your time trying. The real successor (or so they say) just arrived¬† — all 3 years, $35 million of him.

I got queasy when I heard the New York Yankees planned to sign Tampa Bay closer Rafael Soriano for $35M over three years and a first round pick that Cashman swore we’d never give up. All of that for a setup man? Wasn’t this supposed to be the new sensible shoes Yankees – the ones who build their farm system and attempt self-control on the free agency market? I suppose it depends on whether you’re a glass half full type or not.

Half full
Rafael Soriano is tested and proven in the AL East, he’s a Rivera injury away from being one hell of a bargain, and with him, our bullpen should be one of the best in the league (Joe Girardi’s mismanagement notwithstanding). Last season, he had 45 saves with a sterling 1.78 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. Nice, right? Check out his combined line with Mo:

122.1 IP, 78-86 saves-opportunities, 75 hits, 24 ER, 25 BB, 102 K, 0.82 WHIP, 1.77 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 5.52 H/9, 1.84 BB/9, 7.50 K/9, 4.08 K:BB, and an opponents BA around .170.

Hot.

Half empty
Soriano is a good reliever, but he’s not Mo reincarnated/$11.M+ per/first round pick good. And at 31 years old, he never will be.

1. Soriano had major elbow surgeries in 2004 and 2008 (Tommy John and ulnar nerve), which makes him a rickety insurance policy who will only deteriorate with age
2. He’s doing what David Robertson and Pedro Feliciano can do nearly as well at an obscene markup for one, maybe two, innings of work
3. Flyball rate: 50%. Groundball: 31%. xFIP vs lefties: 4.42 (career: 4.13). How’s that sounding for Yankee Stadium? Fear not – I just cringed so you don’t have to.

The glass half empty stuff and the cost notwithstanding, I like this. Any time the Yankees enter the 8th inning with a lead, I will fully expect the other team to surrender immediately, pack up their bags, and get back on the bus. When they don’t, I’ll be offended that they have the audacity to think they can compete.

But what about those days when C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes aren’t pitching? Two games a week (or three if Bad A.J. is on the mound), we may see Soriano trotting out in the 7th or 8th to protect a 6-3 Yankee deficit. Potentially being the best bridge to the closer since Mariano had the role in 1996 won’t count for much then.

And that, boys and girls, is where Andy Pettitte comes in! Can I get a huzzah?

We’re supposed to believe that Andy Pettitte is in month three of his annual Brett Favre routine. The notion offends me. The only thing he’s doing is waiting to see if the Yankees are committed to beating the Boston Red Sox’s soul-crushing lineup and contending for a title. If he isn’t, why hasn’t he called it a day?

Andy’s a bulldog who can still compete at an elite level, but he won’t give up time with his family to endure a season of futility. By signing Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, and David Robertson, and leaving plenty of cash to spare for other acquisitions (please, not Andruw Jones), Brian Cashman proved that though he’s still not above signing players for way too much money, New York is ready to put up a title fight.

Any time now, Mr. Pettitte. Any time. Please? For a half season? Christ. I’m so¬†delusional.

10 Comments

  • I like the signing but it pisses me off that he’s getting Mariano money without showing that he’s even close to Mariano’s production. How many more years are we gonna let Scott Boras keep fucking us?

  • Did you think the bag of cash that had Cliff Lee’s name on it would go back to the bank? Soriano is a good sign, injuries notwithstanding, but you can’t compare him to Mo. You can’t compare anyone to Mo. As an Orioles fan, Mo is the best relief pitcher that has ever played. Trying to fill his shoes is like trying to fill the shoes of Ruth, DiMaggio or Mantle. You can write their name in the same spot in the lineup but it’s not the same. Just be glad it was only a 3 year deal.

    • What’s your point here? Proving mine? You don’t give Mo Rivera money to the guy who can’t and won’t ever come close. It doesn’t matter how much unused cash is sitting on the table.

      • Big picture is I think you make the playoffs and Soriano will make a difference and he’ll be worth every penny.

  • It’s a really nice pick up for you guys if he doesn’t opt out. But regardless of whether you’ve still got him in 2013, Scott Boras bent you over and worked you :)

  • Cashman can’t be trusted, the money sucks and losing a first rounder to the Rays sucks, especially if Soriano opts out like AJ said. At the end of the day though we got what we needed… we replaced Wood, kept Soriano off the Rays roster, and have the best endgame in the game. I’m not gonna worry about the money part. Thanks to Cliff Lee, we’ve got it to burn.

  • I’m half empty here. None of this matters if we don’t pick up a solid #4 pitcher. If Pettitte doesn’t come back, then what? Retool Joba again or throw in Mitre? No way. We cannot afford to piecemeal these final two starters, especially with Good AJ/Bad AJ. Starting pitching is the most important element to a championship squad. We won’t be able to win any regular season series against the Sox with what we’ve got, let alone own October.

  • I don’t think the Rivera/Wetteland comparison is very applicable unless Soriano repeatedly goes 2 innings all season the way Rivera did in 96 (107.6 innings).

  • I think Pettitte’s a non issue. The Yanks will survive the first half of the season getting 5 innings out of their back-end starters, letting the bullpen handle 6 and 7, and Soriano and Mariano taking 8th and 9th. They’ll pick up a solid starter before the deadline and steamroll into the postseason.

  • Too bad Gil Meche retired. He was the perfectly mediocre, underwelming SP to fill your 5th SP spot LOL

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I am a jaded, sarcastic girl prone to unreasonable fits of rage. This site is my outlet. I am not classy, nice, or fair. It's best you know that up front.

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