Have you ever read or heard something that was so out of left field that it made you pause and do a double take? When I read Wallace Matthews’ article on the Yankees signing of Rafael Soriano, I all but mimicked my 4 month old daughter, spitting my morning oatmeal practically through my nose.
It seems our step brothers over at Evil Empire Inc., who were spurned by Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford this winter, have settled on the idea that what they REALLY needed all along was a 12 million dollar set-up man for Mariano Rivera.
Matthews begins his article with the assumption that the Yankees have pretty much sewn up the American League East with Soriano’s signing. He also goes on to say that we could score this off-season in favor of the Yankees.
I’m not sure what vacuum Wallace Matthews is living in but I’m pretty sure when he ventures beyond its protective dome he has to spend at least 8 hours in a decompression chamber. Ok, we’re going to allow Matthews his winter in Wonderland just as long as he gives Alice her space.
I tried my best to not give his article that much credence considering it’s rooted in fantasy but it was just too ripe with nonsense to turn away from. He equates that with Crawford and Soriano now formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, they will no longer haunt the Yankees and somehow that in and of itself translates into a division title for the Bombers. I guess when Matthews fell through the cosmic bunny hole and bumped his head he forgot the current state of the Yankees starting rotation in the coming season.
Not to mention how the Red Sox did an extreme makeover Basthun style with the additions of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Jenks. Also you can consider the Yankees have to rely on Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre and the consistently inconsistent A.J. Burnett in the rotation; it pretty much makes the Soriano acquisition a bit moot, no?
Now I know as a Met fan I must have a lot of nerve considering Sandy Alderson is trying to refit his rotation with silly putty and Elmer’s glue. The thing is neither Alderson nor I or most sane thinking Met fans happen to live in the same ethereal magic world the Yankees have a set footing in.
Wallace mentioned the Yankee situation as a “roster problem”; you think? So I assume he believes the importance of having Soriano outweighs having a reliable starter, especially if Andy Pettite retires.
Don’t get me wrong, Soriano is a solid pitcher. He’s had success in the AL and the NL, both as a closer and set-up man but the only thing that keeps running through my mind is J.J. Putz. Soriano is clearly a better pitcher than Putz, I give him that without question. But Matthews believes that the Yankee pitchers need only go 6 innings now and somehow magically Soriano and the aging Mariano Rivera will front the load after that. Good luck with that slick.
Didn’t Omar Minaya go down this road when he helped to orchestrate the three team deal that created the Wonder Twins of Flushing in J.J. Putz with Frankie Rodriguez? That worked out perfectly. Maybe I’m getting old and my memory is shot but didn’t the Mets also have rotation issues that SHOULD have been addressed that year, in spite of the bullpen issues that also existed?
I guess I’m a bit old school because I’m not one of those who believe having a great bullpen makes up for the lack of a starting rotation. It may alleviate some issues but in the end I’d rather have 7 strong innings from a good starter than burn through four or five arms game in game out.
Why do I keep getting the feeling that signing Soriano, a type-A free agent which will cost the Yankees their first round pick this coming year, was predicated as compensation for losing out on the slew of other premium names this winter? Sure Soriano COULD eventually become Rivera’s heir to the closers throne in two years, making Soriano around 34 years old. He’s not exactly a spring chicken and the last I knew, he doesn’t share in Rivera’s DNA which must have been formed from the waters of the Fountain of Youth.
Once again the Yankees have set precedence in MLB, forever altering the way teams have to pay set-up men. This is just the type of overpaying Minaya was notorious for but is easily absorbed and hidden by the behemoth that is the New York Yankees payroll. While it’s admirable that Cashman wants to improve his bullpen, one questions at what cost to his rotation, financially and to his organization’s future? As a Met fan we can all say, so who cares, and I agree, who cares? But the same people who would say who cares I guarantee you are the ones who would say Sandy should’ve spent 15 million to sign Soriano. It’s insane.
Hopefully for Brian Cashman’s sake the signing of Rafael Soriano won’t end up nearly as bad as Omar Minaya’s J.J. Putz deal. It certainly doesn’t seem he’s learned from Minaya’s mistakes. If not, there may be no mountain tall enough for Cashman to avoid his fanbase and repel from.