Joakim Soria and the Yankees

Open Thread: Snowpocalyse 2010 (cont'd)
The Yanks' recent history of January & February transactions
(Orlin Wagner/AP)

Perhaps we’d better start from the beginning.

Trade deadline 2010. The Rangers acquire Cliff Lee and the Angels acquire Dan Haren. The Yankees had varying degrees of interest in both, and both ended up elsewhere. Clearly they were going to look wherever possible for ways to upgrade the team. On July 25th’s Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees “made a big proposal for Royals closer Joakim Soria.” That’s it. There was no mention of names involved in the proposal. Just one vague statement.

Two days later, in the sidebar of a trade deadline column, Jayson Stark expanded a bit. “The Yankees just made another run at Soria, as first reported by — even dangling Jesus Montero.” Is this Stark adding a bit of reporting? Is he speculating? Who did he talk to that mentioned Montero’s name? And, most importantly, if this was in fact the case why wasn’t it a more prominent item in the column? Or maybe it’s just a matter of wording. After all, Montero’s name coming up in conversation, or even being dangled, is quite a bit different than him being offered in a trade.

(This is along the lines of a story this morning, where the headline didn’t reflect the content. The game of telephone continued from there.)

Once Cliff Lee went to Philadelphia and especially once Zack Greinke went to Milwaukee, it was inevitable that we’d hear some sort of connection between the Yankees and Royals involving Soria. The Royals have said that they intend to keep their closer, but that won’t stop the rumor mill from turning. It turns out that Soria himself has restarted it. MLB Trade Rumors links to an article that quotes Soria regarding his no-trade clause. While he can block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals, and Cubs, only one of those names came up in conversation.

“I didn’t put it there, my agent did, as a strategy,” Soria said. “But if the Royals decide to trade me to New York I would gladly go to play with the Yankees or any other team… I repeat, I would not block a trade to the Yankees. I like to play baseball and I would play with any team.”

This is clearly going to raise some eyebrows, but I wouldn’t make much of it. There are a few reasons to not take seriously any of this Soria talk at all.

Regarding the summer 2010 rumor: If Cashman did offer Montero for Soria, he should be relieved of his duties. The same goes for Dayton Moore if he refused.

Regarding acquiring Soria now: Why not just sign Rafael Soriano at that point? Soria is under contract for four more years at $26.75 million. It would probably take another $15 or so million to land Soriano, and it would cost the 31st pick in the draft. But the Royals clearly won’t let Soria go for cheap. It’s probably better to keep the prospects who are closer to helping and spend the extra money, something the Yankees can do with ease.

We constantly see the Yankees connected to every available high-profile player. It was determined the minute Soria became a star that he’d eventually be mentioned as a Yankees target. But given what we know, there’s no reason to believe any of it. Maybe Montero’s name did come up in a discussion regarding Soria. If that happened, I doubt the conversation lasted long. The Yankees might want Soria, but the Royals also appear to want a bit much for him. I wouldn’t expect this one to move, despite the rumors we’ll hear every July and December from now until Soria’s free agency.

Open Thread: Snowpocalyse 2010 (cont'd)
The Yanks' recent history of January & February transactions
  • Mister Delaware

    If the Yanks are convinced Soria could successfully convert to the rotation, he’s worth the (sub-Montero) cost. If not, pass. Pass hard.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Soria is a reliever nothing more. The Yankees would be convinced that he’s Mo’s replacement.

    • Gonzo

      Soria himself, in the same interview, said he would say no to a rotation spot.

      • Mister Delaware

        TBCoD: Don’t make definitive statements on things you can’t possibly know. I’m sure a lot of people last year said “Wilson is a reliever, nothing more”.

        Gonzo: Do a lot of guys outright refuse to convert? He’s comfortable as a reliever and probably perceives remaining a reliever as safest for him long term, but he’s not going to refuse conversion.

    • Dave Harris

      Pass hard. The whole story is ridiculous. If they wanted that type of pitcher why would they lose Montero instead of a free agent? Makes no sense.

  • Mike Axisa

    He’d be a big help, but giving up the pick for Soriano would be the better bet. The Yanks can absorb the extra salary.

    • Gonzo

      Mike, no twitter response to Dave Gershman wanting Montero, Sanchez, Joba, and Adams for Soria? What’s taking you so long, lol.

      • Mike Axisa

        He’s not stupid, he knows it’ll never happen. That would have been too much for Greinke.

        • Gonzo

          I laughed. I imagine that even as a starting point in negotiations, the Yanks would see that as an act of war.

  • mike c

    it would be a good fit, but not for a couple years

  • DareBear

    I have an idea. Put ALFREDO ACEVES in the rotation.

    • billbybob

      You mean free agent and injured Alfredo Aceves?

      • Mike

        He was fully recovered when the Yanks decided to cut him from their roster. They based their decision when there was a rumor he had injuried himself in México and was put on the DL list in the Mexican Winter League, but the truth its it was a move by his team in México who was not going to use him and needed an extra spot in their roster.

        But… there was also the rumor in México that JoeG didn’t want him in the team (similar to what has been happening to Jorge Vázquez in the minors putting up very good numbers and he’s not been called up, less good players are called up from the Yanks minor league system).

        • Joe Pawlikowski

          I don’t think any of this is true, or at least provably true. Dude broke his collar bone.

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      Please keep comments on topic. This has nothing to do with Soria.

      • icebird753

        It actually does. This person is in favor of not taking Soria and instead resigning Aceves to pitch in the rotation (which is absurd, btw)

  • Mike

    “The Yankees might want Soria, but the Royals also appear to want a bit much for him.”

    Well… he is one of the best closers right now in the majors, if not the best closer, he is worth at least Montero and one or two extra minor leaguers. Montero has yet to play a game in the majors, Joakim has been putting up very good numbers.

    High strikeout to walk ratio (4.01), Mariano has 3.94 lifetime (even taking into account he has had in the past 5 years his best seasons in lowest walks per 9innings and best K/W ratios). He hast a very good WHIP (less than 1 per inning), a great ERA, can pitch any day and it’s pretty much a-la-par with Mariano in his (inn pitched/game) ratio (which is about 1inn per game pitched: 1.08 for Mariano since he began to close games, and 1.20 for Joakim since he was converted to full time closer, and 1.07 inn/game lifetime).

    • kosmo

      You don´t trade your best prospects for a relief pitcher.A SP yes RP no.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Soria is a beast, but he is not worth Montero. No way.

    • David

      He plays in a pathetic division. Eighteen games per year against Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago. He has never played in an important game in his life. He isn’t remotely in Mo’s class.

      • tvators

        Actually he is the only pitcher in baseball that can even compare to mariano, the whole meaningful game thing is complete ignorance and yankee superiority complex that exists when you wear blinders and know nothing about the rest of the MLB, detroit and Chicago have as many World series apperances as the yanks in the last 6 years

  • Plank

    If the Royals value relief pitching that highly, we should try to trade some of our relievers to them. Maybe we can pull off a Swisher.

    • Plank

      *Swisher-type miracle trade.

    • Gonzo

      I think you’re jesting, but in any case Butler doesn’t fit and everyone else isn’t MLB good yet.

      • Plank

        I was serious. You’re right though, there aren’t any players the Royals would part with that we would want, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Royals value RP more than other teams. Just like they have overvalued high BA, high contact guys over the last decade.

        Maybe we could center something around Joba (even though I think we should keep him (at least until his value is higher.))

        • mbonzo

          If what you’re saying is true, Royals value relief pitching, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Joba and Brackman trade for Soria. Thats probably not enough for the Royals though.

          • Plank

            I’m only basing that on the Royals supposedly extremely high asking price for Soria and the franchise history of overvaluing skills that don’t translate to wins.

          • Plank

            Oh, and I think every Yankee fan on Earth would do Joba and Brackman for Soria. Get rid of 2 question marks and get a lights out reliever. Sign me up.

            I love Joba, but he’s frustrating, and he’s being wasted as the third man out of the pen. His value is at an all-time low though.

            Brackman was good last year, but he has been injured, inconsistent, or sucked before that.

            • Shaun

              It was a known fact that when Brackman was drafted he needed Thommy John surgery (known by the Yankee FO anyway). 2008 was his recovery year, 2009 was basically rehab because he had to regain his mechanics after basically a year removed from competition. 2010 was his first true year and he showed he can be very good and consistent.

              • Plank

                Yeah, but being consistent to me means more than just one year. If he can put up another year like last year, then that’s a big sign that he’s ready, but at this point, that’s not a foregone conclusion.

                He could be an all-star type regular, but he could also never put up consistent performance in the majors and be a AAAA kind of guy before he gets non-tendered. That’s why I said he was a question mark and not a dud.

  • mbonzo

    Mariano’s contract will be up in 2013, and Soria will be a free agent. Unless the Royals drink the reality potion, Soria to the Yankees should be a discussion best set for late 2012.

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      Soria’s under contract through 2014.

      • Jerome S.

        you are such a downer today :'(

  • Steve H

    That whole rumor was laughable. It was horrible reporting by Stark. The Yankees likely made the Royals a significant (in their minds) offer. Stark just assumes that must mean Montero and throws him in there. As the post says, both Cashman and Moore should be out of jobs if this went down as “reported.”

    • Poopy Pants

      Battling rumors with more speculation and rumors. Nice.

      • Evan3457

        More like an inference.

        Heyman’s original reporting didn’t mention Montero, just a “serious offer”. If Heyman knew Montero was in it, he’d have reported that. Stark, meanwhile, “enhances” Heyman’s report by mentioning Montero was “dangled”, but he does this without naming a source, or even citing an unnamed source, and he does this in a small sidebar off his main article, without further details. Stark never updates or clarifies.

        From this, I infer that Stark is “interpreting” Heyman, rather than reporting actual information he has dug up on his own.

        You can call this speculation. I call it reading between the lines, based on past experience with media sources that don’t always get the facts straight.

  • Karl

    For a power house premier organization the Yankees are looking like a desperate fledgling team. I miss the Boss!

  • CS Yankee

    The best player, reasonably priced closer, and really only star (sorry Butler) left on the team and they want the farm for him?…duh!

    Moore isn’t known to bring in talent signings and has this illusion that 20 farm kids will all mature at the same time and bring them into contention.

    If he is drinking his own Kool-Aid, he needs Soria for 2012-14. If he doesn’t get an extreme pay back, he will be run out-of-town.

  • john

    This is silly talk Yankees should weight it out this year an give the young gun the opportunity to pitch. Cashman alway talk farm system an how much young talent they is, if that the case so display them. We will never know if Yankees don’t show case them. As they say FORGET ABOUT IT

  • john


    • icebird753


  • mike

    im in favor of a Montero/Soria trade, if only because IMO Soria appears a guy in the Mariano-mode of free and easy delivery who doesnt appear to get flattered ( at least when ive seen him ). These traits will translate well to the Yanks and likely make him a better long-term get than most relievers, while providing a lock-down bullpen and insurance for mariano until he assumes the throne

    im aware of the “true” value of closers as compared to other players, yet i also have to look at the fact that a pretty good catcher ( Martin) was picked up for peanuts, and the one place the Yanks can gamble is with their catching prospects. In this case, if Martin has a good year, and Posada gets 20-30 games behind the plate when Arod or Jeter needs to DH, it likely means Montero will get few at-bats in the ML, making him a wasting asset as he could become injured or struggle in AAA.

    thus, if the Yanks believe the Sanchez/Romine/etc. group will produce andother ML quality catcher or two over the next 2-3 years, and if Martin doesnt sh&t the bed, it stands to reason Soria will be a bigger contributor to the Yanks than Montero during that time, and thus uts a price im willing to pay – especailly as Soria would likely then be here for years to come.

    While I like Soriano, he is not in Soria’s class

    • Ted Nelson

      You don’t seem to be aware of the value of relief pitching based on your comment.

      You realize that Montero is the consensus best hitting prospect in baseball, right? You would really advise the Braves to trade Hayward for a relief pitcher before last season? Hey, you don’t know what this kid will do in the bigs and you just picked up Melky Cabrera anyway… you don’t even need an OF. Just dump the guy for 60 good innings of pitching a season. That would work out great.

      It’s not about filling the C spot, it’s about seeing how his potential middle-of-the-order bat develops. It’s also not about Montero is 2011… if he reaches anything close to his expected production he can be part of contending Yankee teams for the next 15, 20 years.

  • David

    Hilarious. A team that wins about 65 games a year (maybe not exact, not worth looking it up) thinks that their players are worth a tremendous amount. Particularly with Zack gone, what is this guy going to close?

  • Operation Killer B’s

    What if we offered Joba, Betances and someone lesser like maybe Bradon Laird or CoJo for Soria. Seems possible to me, I would never trade Montero for Soria as it wouldnt be worth it but Soria would be a great asset in the back of the pen.

    • Plank

      I would make that trade. It kinda makes sense for both sides. It depends on how highly the Royals value Joba.

  • DA DA

    I would like for them to trade joba for soria and another minor league player, because we need another arm in the bullpen.

    • tvators

      Except that Joba is about to get expensive and Joakim is signed to a reasonable deal, Laird would not fit with The royals as he’d be blocked by far superior prospects

  • solamon

    soria we can trade for to make the bullpen stronger but we need another starter not a reliever

  • Jamie G.

    Just sign Soriano…the 31st pick wont see the big leagues for probably 5 years if at all.

  • Baltimore Yankee

    I think Montero for Soriano is fine, considering Soriano is an experienced 2.00 ERA closer with four more years under an inexpensive contract, especially by Yank Standards. Plus, we have Romine ready for 2012 and Cervilli as a good defense back-up with 270 BA, 340 OB, plus the new guy. Rivera and Soriano for the next two years would make many games 7-8 innings and over.

  • Damian

    Jesus Montero is an overrated prospect.

    Part of Cashman’s game.

    He’s done it time and time again.

  • Baltimore Yankee

    Look, last year we traded Austin Jackson, a hyped prospect with better projected value than Montero, because unlike Montero, Jackson already was considered a gold glover, a .300 hitter, only less power (and this came true)–and we traded him for a career .250 hitter under an inexpensive contract (Granderson) whi can’t hit lefties or play center field great, whom our hitting coach was miraculously going to fix (yeah right). If I was Kansas City, and was forced to trade this reliever (because I wouldn’t otherwise), I’d ask for Gardner, Nova, and a top-5 minor league pitching prospect. Cashman would do it, too (because he sucks as a GM; what really has he done well, beside have the largest check?)