With endgame in place, Yanks need to work on opening

Yankees agree to sign Rafael Soriano
What's the excuse now?
(Chris O'Meara/AP)

When the Yankees had a lead to start the eighth inning last season, they went 80-7. Two of those leads were blown in the ninth, so the Yankees lost five leads during the eighth inning. They were also 5-4 when tied after seven. Chances are that Rafael Soriano won’t turn all of those instances into wins, but he’ll certainly help. That’s one of the few consolations I can take in the three-year, $35 million deal he has reportedly signed with the Yankees.

In terms of the 2011 team, there are no complaints. The Yankees had plenty of money to spend, and they certainly upgraded the back end of the bullpen. This will lead to a greater enjoyment of the 2011 season. The Yanks might win a few games that they otherwise would have lost, and we will all be a little less irritable the next mornings. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is what this means for the 2012 and 2013 teams.

Maybe the Yankees really do have a limitless budget. Maybe they can raise it to $220 million if the right players become available. Brian Cashman has always asserted that he operates under a strict budget, but Brian Cashman also said that he wasn’t going to surrender his first round pick in this year’s draft. If Soriano’s contract doesn’t prevent the Yankees from making a move in the next three years, it’s hard not to like it. But if they can’t or don’t make a move because of payroll concerns, then the contract becomes a problem.

The Yankees might have improved the bullpen, but preposterous is the idea that a great endgame somehow covers up a weak opening. Behind CC Sabathia the Yankees have a second-year starter who was average in his first, a pitcher with good stuff who was pretty terrible last season, a 24-year-old with a back of the rotation ceiling, and 30-year-old who has just 416.1 career innings and a 5.27 ERA. They need some more help there, because in order for the endgame to even play a part they need a strong opening.

Hold onto your butts…

The easiest and quickest way to make the rotation a little bit better is, as thousands have already suggested, to use Joba there. Even 2009 Joba is better than Mitre, and that counts the slop he was throwing when they pulled the short start nonsense. In the bullpen his role has greatly diminished. In the rotation he can at least upgrade the team, even if it’s in a small way. There is absolutely nothing to lose. His stuff might play up better in the bullpen, as Cashman said earlier, but again, I don’t think we should be in the business of believing anything Cashman says.

Losing the draft pick hurts a bit, but it’s far from the primary aspect of this deal. The Yanks still do have a first round selection, but their 31st pick is gone. If they resolve to pick up some risky players in the later rounds they can somewhat make up for that pick, and there’s always the international market. I still don’t like the idea of surrendering a draft pick for a reliever, but it’s not worth getting too worked up over. The Yankees might even be able to recoup that pick if Soriano has a lights out season. He has an opt out after each season, so he could leave two years and $23.5 million on the table if he thought he could find something better. Considering his experience this year I don’t think that will be the case.

In Soriano the Yankees get an excellent reliever who can help lockdown the endgame. It cost them a lot of money relative to his potential contribution, and it cost them the chance to draft a young player. If he stays healthy and locks down the eighth inning before sliding into the closer’s role for the final year of the deal, it might end up working out. But knowing what we know now, about relievers in general and Soriano specifically, I’m not too excited over this deal. Though I realize I’ll sleep that much easier during the 2011 season.

Yankees agree to sign Rafael Soriano
What's the excuse now?
  • Eeexe

    Make a Joba to the rotation post every day until the front office does it.

    • HMB

      Agreed. Make him a starter, leave him a starter.

    • mike c

      how about joba pitches well enough in spring training to make the yankees put him there instead. I don’t think they care if you complain

      • YankeesJunkie

        Joba never had a real shot at the job.

        • mike c

          he was a starting pitcher in 2009, and phil hughes beat him for the spot last year. if joba had pitched better over the last 2 years he’d be a starter now, and don’t give me the ‘kid gloves’ nonsense

          • YankeesJunkie

            Nope the Yankees just went with the idiotic concept. He was bad in 2009, but that does not mean he should be converted to the pen before his 25th birthday. Joba always has and always will provide the most value to the Yanks in the rotation.

            • mike c

              always will? I’m all for giving joba a chance to earn a spot in the rotation, but to say he always will be more valuable in the rotation remains to be seen. mo used to be a starter for the yankees too when he was young, some pitchers just aren’t built for it

              • The Big City of Dreams

                He has more value at this point based on the fact that after the Soriano move Joba is a middle reliever.

            • whozat

              He was BAD in 2009? How many 23 year old kids put up those numbers in the starting rotation in the AL East? Most kids two years out of school are in AA! He was already a serviceable starter in the big leagues.

              He wasn’t beat for a spot in the 2010 rotation. Phil Hughes would have had to get hurt or throw BP every game for a month to lose that spot.

              Point is, they’re looking for starters who are better than Mitre. They have one. They won’t use him for some reason. The given reasons make no sense.

              • Gerald Williams

                PUT JOBA OUT THERE TO START! He’s better than anyone we’ve got and any free agent. THROW OUT THE JOBA RULES, he’s not that young anymore. Let him throw till his arm falls off. AT least we’ll get some value out of him instead of a mop-up reliever now.

                PS I know it’s a bad contract, but I do like Soriano!

              • OldYanksFan

                “The given reasons make no sense.”
                I agree. But Cashman has always been willing to trade prime meat or pay an elite Starter $20m+, while he has built his BP from scrubs and kids, so Brian KNOWS the value of a Starter relative to a RP.

                Cashman does NOT make his decisions in a vacuum. He is a MANAGER. He talks to his advisors and coaches, and he hears from his bosses. You may not like all of Cashmans’s moves, but he is a smart, competant dude.

                If they refuse to let Joba start, there IS a good reason. Just because we don’t know what it is, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If Joba is ultimately trade bait, then the Yankees don’t want to reveal, or display, any issues he may have.

                And Cashman is NOT a liar.
                He is a master of mis-direction.
                Whether it’s ‘we got Bubba’, or ‘can’t afford Teix’, or ‘Damon’s price is nuts’, no matter his history of mis-direction, we fans are still buying what he say’s… ‘ won’t give up a 1st round pick’.

                The guy is the boy who cried wolf, yet we are still buying… so the dude is pretty good.

                The Soriano deal is not a ‘good deal’.
                But Lee for 6/$140m (or God forbid 7 years!) was not a good deal.
                Crawford for TWENTY MILLION A YEAR! (NOT a good deal!)

                In a thin market, there were no good deals for good players. You want a good deal, there is always a 2 WAR DH, ala Andrue, for a mill or so. But ALL talent was very expensive this year, as is often the case.

                The question is: Does Soriano make us a better team in 2011. For a team that is probably fighting for the WC, does it give us a better shot in/at the PS?

                I am not crazy about this deal. But Cashman does have his beack up against it. Our team is aging while our competation is getting better.

                Ya can gripe about this contract, but the truth is, Jeter cost us $30m we didn’t need to spend.

          • The Big City of Dreams

            He wasn’t beaten out by Hughes…Hughes was the favorite going into ST. Barring an injury Joba wasn’t going to start in 2010.

        • ramez hanna

          joba will move to the starting rotation or will be traded for a starter ,that was the reason for the signing

    • http://beatofthebronx.com Beat Of The Bronx

      I was always a firm believer that Joba should be in the bullpen, however, he pitched himself out of the set-up role last season, and as the article points out, has clearly earned himself a diminished role in the bullpen. To most efficiently use resources, the Yankees would benefit by bringing Joba back to the rotation.

      If you think back to Joba PRE shoulder injury, he was pitching 6+ innings per start, and was able to throw 96-98 mph still. People forget that. It wasn’t until AFTER the shoulder injury that he wasn’t able to throw high heat anymore.

      Joba wouldn’t be placed in a pressurized situation either. Being the fourth starter, if he could go out once every five days and pitch to a 4.00 ERA over 180 innings, the Yankees would be more than thrilled.

      Maybe moving further away from that shoulder injury may do the trick for Joba also. Coming into his third year away from the injury, maybe he regains even more of the velocity that he lost several years ago. Last year, we saw some of that missing velocity return, as Joba hit 97 at several points throughout the season.

      • Monteroisdinero

        This. And if anyone can teach him a decent offspeed pitch for a strike (or close to it)….

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Ppl were banging the drum for Soriano so I guess the Joba starter thing can work.

  • Teh Comp Pick

    Joba is a key for sure. Can he slide back into a starter’s role and put to ease some of our concerns? I don’t know. Like everyone else I’d like to think so.

    On the subject of Rafi; if the first two years work out, he’ll almost definitly opt out when needed more than in the first two years. If his stock is at an alltime high, after three strong and healthy years, he’s not going to move into the closer’s role on a 1 yr pact. I understand the first opt out, but the second one not as much. It’s almost like eliminating the best outcomes this deal could possibly have from the equation.

  • Gonzo

    Good view on the subject!

    I am sure the Yanks have looked into the upcoming FA markets (just like they did in the Johan talks), and decided to make the decision to pull the trigger.

  • Jerkface

    Maybe they have withheld the information that Joba will start until after arbitration has been settled. That way Joba can’t use his future role in the hearing to squeeze more money out of them.

    Of course he could just use his past performance there to do that. And it would be silly to not have him prepare as a starter all this time. Which are points against, but maybe they would tell him he needs to be in shape regardless.

    Anyways, just a thought. A fantasy really. Please put Joba back in the rotation :(

    • Snatchmike

      That’s been my thought as well, and you’re the first person I’ve heard voice it. Though arbitration hearings are based on the past years’ performance, I can see Cash being cautious about tipping his hand by announcing Joba to the rotation just yet. I really hope that’s what’s happening.

      FREE JOBA!!

  • mbonzo

    Joba Chamberlain
    4.18 ERA
    221.2 IP
    206 SO


    Sergio Mitre
    5.48 ERA
    339.2 IP
    198 SO

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      But his stuff! It’s so much better out of the bullpen!

      • mbonzo

        His numbers are only good because he had one good stretch in 2008!

        Love how he changed his mind within a half hour.

      • OldYanksFan

        “But his stuff! It’s so much better out of the bullpen!”
        Please Mike… what do you want Cashman to say???
        For whatever reason, the Yankees are not starting Joba.
        And everyone wants to know WHY?
        So what do you say if you’re Cashman?

        “Joba has a structural issue with his shoulder”.
        “Joba is a fat drunk to doesn’t prepare for his starts”.
        “Joba is trade bait. He has no future with the Yankees”.

        What would you like the Master of mis-direction to say?

        Quoting Cashman should be a banable offense.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Don’t say anything.

          • bpdelia

            Bingo. How about something rational like “We evaluate all our pitchers every year and we’ll decide on how Joba can best help the team based on circumstances going forward.”

            Problem solved. Or how about “I’ll leave it up to JOe to decide how to use the pitchers on his roster”.

            Or how about “We’ll see.”

            Or how about “I don’t want to make any statements about who will or will not be our fifth starter in teh middle of January.”

            ANy of those workds :)

    • Gonzo

      Show me the MRI’s!

      • mbonzo

        Mitre’s got a greater injury risk than Joba… unless we find out Joba has AIDs.

        • Gonzo

          TJS has a high degree of success.

          My point is that if Joba is in the pen for this year, it’s not because his stuff plays better there.

          • mbonzo

            I agree, but all we’ve officially heard was that he had shoulder tendinitis in 2009. Mitre’s had a slew of injuries from his TJS, to hamstring problems, and blistering on his hands. Mitre seems like more of an injury risk to me knowing what we know.

            • Gonzo

              The Yankees aren’t exactly forthcoming with injury news. A gunshot wound is reported as a mosquito bite to them.

              We don’t have perfect information to make a unilateral declaration. We will definitely have more information this year.

  • Mike M

    I think a lot of times many of us who follow this site so closely can become overly infatuated with draft picks. While it is great to have a new prospect to watch the truth of the matter is that the crapshoot of the draft is much more risky than the crapshoot of signing someone with Soriano’s ceiling. This is the type of deal that could turn out to be a great investment, or a terrible one. I’m gonna try and let it run part of its course before making any assumptions about it

    • mike c

      draft picks are nice but we need players to win now… a-rod and jeter aren’t getting any younger

    • AW

      I completely agree. I love having a vibrant farm system and the MLB draft as much as anyone, but I think it’s ridiculous to mourn the loss of the 31st pick.

  • Superking

    Unfortunately, I don’t see Joba pitching anywhere but in the bullpen this upcoming season. Of course, Cashman has been flip-flopping his most recent comments, but I think he’s gonna stick with his guns for this decision.

    Joba hasn’t seemed to be developing his pitches very well. Besides the fastball, his slider hasn’t been anything more than mediocre, and he probably hasn’t been tinkering with his other pitches much either. His velocity also dipped significantly when he started, and I’m not sure his secondary pitches can compensate for an otherwise average fastball.

    Now that they’ve solidified the eighth inning with Soriano, they presumably have Feliciano, Logan, Robertson, and Joba for the sixth and seventh innings. This may be the only detriment with having two lefty specialists: they can’t pitch to more than one or two batters at a time. I think the Yanks will be inclined to keep Joba in the pen so they can have the security of two righty relievers, especially with Girardi’s by-the-book mentality.

    The Soriano signing just goes to show you how thin the talent is for starting pitching. Once Pettitte made his decision, they swiftly opted for the best reliever in the market. Hopefully something opens up near the trade deadline, but you can never be sure if Cashman’s done dealing.

    • Jerkface

      His fastball was above average, even with his diminished velocity post-injury, and Joba showed a still diminished but consistent increased velocity last season. In 2009 his velocity was still better than most of the major leagues. Only 22 starters threw harder.

      • Superking

        Yes, Joba’s velocity was around 92-93 for the 2009 season. However, it was the velocity prior to his injury that made it such a great pitch. In 2009, his fastball was 20 runs BELOW average, which is absolutely terrible.

        Now, his velocity did increase a bit last season. The question is, if he were to start again, would he be able to maintain that velocity, or would it decrease again?

        • Jerkface

          Pitch value has nothing to do with how awesome your pitch is. Vlad hits your biting slider out of the zone in the dirt for a double and its going to ding your pitch value. Maybe his fastball got smoked because he was locating it poorly? Maybe he has learned to pitch?

          • Superking

            Well, that’s left to be seen. You’re right, pitching values have nothing to do with how good the pitch itself is (velocity, movement, etc.). However, it tells you how effective the pitch was, and clearly, Joba’s fastball wasn’t fooling anyone in 2009. And the situation you pointed out is just one of hundreds of situations pitchers face in a season.

            Now, one of the main issues with Joba is control. In ’08, his BB/9 as a starter was 3.4, and in ’09 it skyrocketed to 4.35. Blame it on late-season fatigue or whatever else, but once again, there are questions on whether he can replicate the success he’s had in the bullpen in his early years and ’10, as a starter in ’11.

            I definitely would like to see Joba start again. I just feel that the Yanks will see these issues and decide against it.

            • jim p

              Seems to me that Joba was inconsistent in locating his fastball. One game he’d be perfect, the next not near where the catcher set up. Whatever the speed, top pitchers locate that fastball consistently. Then they can play off that with their other pitches.

              Hughes had that problem as a starter in 2009, but solved it out of the bullpen later. Then they made him a starter.

              • Superking

                Yes, Hughes made a good transition and became successful as a starter this season, but the Yanks were always more adamant that Hughes was going to be a starter in the long-term. He’s much more built for starting than Joba is.

                Hughes has always generally had better control than Joba. His fastball velocity may not have been as high as Joba’s, but what Hughes’ fastball lacks in speed is made up for in movement.

                Hughes also has three well-developed pitches, and we’ve all seen how well that cutter has been for him. Joba has his fastball and his slider, which has increased in velocity but decreased in movement the past couple of years. Now, if Joba can develop a good third pitch, I think there would be a much better chance of him starting.

                • OldYanksFan

                  Maybe because Joba’s slider, which was his best pitch, is NEVER thrown for a strike. Maybe everyone sits on the FB, because it’s the only pitch thrown over the plate.

                  When Joba first came up, he was getting swinging Ks on sliders WAY low and outside. Batters didn’t know Joba’s stuff, so the slider fooled them. That is not the case anymore. NOBODY swings at the slider, because it is never a Strike.

                  How many times did Joba throw his ‘best pitch’, the slider, on a 3-2 count? And what happened when he did? It was always Ball 4.

                  I maintain that if Joba could throw the slider for a Strike, he would be a different pitcher.

  • Gary

    I’m sorry, but Joba doesn’t inspire me to plunk down money to see him pitch!! don’t trust him to be an everyday starter. Best thing for Joba and the Yanks is for both to move on!! Concentrate on getting another starter, or trade for King Felix. In my opinion, Joba will never be consistant with the Yanks!!

    • whozat

      They HAVE another starter…his name is Joba Chamberlain and he’s in the bullpen.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        And he’s a great middle reliever.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Does Sergio Mitre inspire you more to plunk down money to see him pitch.

    • Esteban

      This issue clearly excites you though!!

  • mustang

    They only negative to the Soriano deal is the “Juba the starter” thing.

    Its like a vampire, it never dies!!!!

    • whozat

      I will never understand why you’re so gleeful to see the Yankees make the team worse. Are you a Met fan? Is that it?

      • mustang

        Damn you doing so well.

      • mustang

        I probably been a Yankees fan longer then you been around so please seat down and don’t hurt yourself.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Why are you so insistent he doesn’t start? I get it, the talk is really annoying. It is. So why do you have to constantly bring it up?

      • mustang

        I don’t care if he does or not, but I do agree that under the current Yankees rotation situation he should been given a chance. Still my life wouldn’t come to an end if he stays in the pen.

      • mustang

        “So why do you have to constantly bring it up?”

        I don’t, but others do very possible chance they get I find it funny. I wonder if the tables were turn how would the “Joba to the Pen” people of this past spring get treated here if they still were carrying on about it today.

  • Carl

    I hope Ace comes back :(

    • Chris

      If his back was healthy, he’d be a MUCH better choice than Mitre. It was only a couple of years ago when many felt Aceves had the potential to be a solid number 3 starter.

  • MikeD

    Joe, the one aspect of this contract I really dislike is the opt out after each of the first two seasons. It means the Yankees assume all risk, while the player does not. In essense, the opt outs mean the Yankees gave up their first-round pick for a player, Soriano, who may only be here for one season. And let’s be serious here. If Soriano is still here after season two, and Mo announces he’s retiring, Boras will absolutly trip the opt-out option because the Yankees will need Soriano’s services in year three.

    Soriano will make about $11.6 million each year for the next three seasons. He can do no worse than that. Is $11.6 an out-of-this world price for a top-notch closer? No. Soriano is not a closer, but the fact that he’s being paid closer money is key here because it will determine what Soriano does in the future. The problem Soriano had is he didn’t have good match on the market for his services. To get top dollar, he needed a team like Yankees or the Red Sox searching for a closer. Or a team like the Mets a couple seasons back who also needed a closer. No big money team that was looking to contend was really in the market for Soriano’s services. That may not be the case next year, or the year after. All a team has to do is give Boras a wink and let him know that they’re willing to top the remaining two years at $11.6 million. Soriano will be gone.

    So Soriano has his money, and all he has to do is pitch well, and he might get even more money. If he doesn’t pull the option clause after 2011, he will definately pull it after 2012 if it looks like Mo’s retiring.

    Another well-constructed deal by Boras.

    • OldYanksFan

      I disagree. If there is NO Opt-out, and Soriano sucks, the Yankees still own him. The only issue of the Opt-Out is possibly losing him if he is really good. And since the Yanks have so many arms conming up, maybe they are OK with this.

      Actually, even if the Dude ends up with a 0.00 ERA, I want him to opt out. He won’t hold up for 3 years. Let’s hope he’s great this year, and then goes away. At 1/$12m,considering our current makeup and farm, that’s a great deal.

  • mustang

    “Brian Cashman has always asserted that he operates under a strict budget”


    “the right players become available”

    And that’s the Yankees budget line.

    Much love Steinbrenner family.

  • FIPster Doofus

    There’s still a workhorse available on the FA market – http://blog.cleveland.com/tribe_impact/2009/01/small_CarlPavano-NYYmug.jpg

    Just kidding.

    • Avi

      I just puked my dinner. Thank you.

    • MikeD

      You know, I didn’t even recognize who that was right away, but it makes sense. I almost never saw him pitching in a Yankee uniform!

  • Avi

    “the Yankees lost five leads during the eighth inning. They were also 5-4 when tied after seven.”

    Furthermore, how many instances were there where the Yanks went into the 8th down a run and the bullpen gave up runs, increasing the deficit and lessening their chances of winning. Also Soriano I’m sure will be in pitching in the 7th in tight games. I realize he won’t pitch in every single one of these instances (he gets days off) but with all these instances in mind I don’t know how he’s not worth a few wins despite what WAR would have us believe.

    • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

      Not to mention that there’s no guarantee everyone else in the ‘pen pitches exactly the same.

    • Slugger27

      he is definitely worth more than his WAR would indicate, i agree

  • Dude

    All I have to say is hopefully the Yanks don’t have Mitre and Nova penciled in as the starters. Create some competition for the fourth and fifth spot. Have Brackman, Phelps, Noesi, Nova and maybe Warren compete. If one falters call up another and hopefully the only pitching Mitre sees is out of the pen. Also the problem with Joba as a starter is he walks too many people. Who knows maybe by mid-season one of Banuelos and Betances will be ready. Remember the one thing the Yanks have quanity of is minor league starting pitching.

  • Dude

    Also with Joba all the deep counts he had as a starter which shortened his outings.

    • YankeesJunkie

      So does Hughes it is a part of the development of a pitcher to a certain extent. No one would expect him to become Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay efficient.

  • ultimate913

    Ask Cashman if Joba will be a starter. Whatever he says, the opposite is the correct answer.

  • Dude

    So that means Pettitte is pitching this year.

  • Gonzo

    Never play poker with Cashman. Check.

  • http://conservationvalue.com Jon G

    ESPN – Soriano’s first save could be Pettite… http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/columns/story?columnist=marchand_andrew&id=6020543

    Fingers crossed…

    • YankeesJunkie

      I find that hard to believe still that signing an relief ace in front Rivera will drive Pettitte to come back to NY if it does then Soriano will get 1 WAR added before he throws a pitch.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      If this happens, which I seriously doubt it will, I… will mind this move a lot, lot less.

  • http://conservationvalue.com Jon G

    “So Soriano’s first setup might be to entice Pettitte to return and give it one more try.

    Realize this: Despite GM Brian Cashman’s public words that the Yankees are not counting on Pettitte to return, the Yankees are also not counting Pettitte out either. There are strong voices in the organization who still think he will return. Maybe Soriano offers that final nudge.” – Above ESPN link

  • Jonathan

    I was going to write something about i trust Cashman in that I think he knows something about Joba (his shoulder) that we don’t. But considering the fact that he made me look like a fucking idiot for trusting him about not signing a type A FA I’m not sure. Why did he even say he wouldn’t sign a type A? It didn’t knock down Soriano’s price. I’ve been against a lot of Cashman moves lately, (Winn/Javy/Nick Johnson/Joba to the pen/Feliciano) and this is a bit disheartening. It’s not that this can’t work out, it’s just I thought we had gotten away from running the team this way.

  • MikeD

    As I mentioned earlier today before the Soriano signing, there is no reason to believe what Cashman says to the external market. It’s not meant for us. It’s meant for the agents and teams he’s negotiating with at the time.

    Cashman Comment: Early December 2005, Cashman says “We’re prepared to begin the season with Bubba Crosby as our starting CFer. Result: Yankees sign Johnny Damon to a four-year contract in late December 2005.

    Cashman Comment: In December 2008, after signing CC and AJ, Cashman denies interest in Mark Teixeria, adding even the Yankees have limits on what they can spend. Result: The Yankees sign Mark Teixeira in late December 2009.

    Cashman Comment: During the summer of 2009, Cashman told the media that Joba is now a starter, adding that since the arm injury in Texas, Joba no longer can warm up quickly enough to work out of the pen. Result: In April 2010, Joba returned to the pen.

    Cashman Comment: In January 2011, Cashman denies interest in Soriano, saying the Yankees won’t pay closer money for a set-up man, adding that there is no free agent on the market who’d they sign in return for losing their first-round draft pick in 2011. Result: In mid-January, the Yankees sign Rafeal Soriano, paying him closer money to be a set-up many, losing their first-round pick.

    Cashman Comment: In January 2011, Cashman says Joba is staying in the pen, adding they don’t believe his stuff holds us as well as a starter. Result: Stay tuned.

    This post is not about knocking Cashman. He is going to say what he’s going to say to get done what he needs to get done. He won’t ever say Joba’s returning to the rotation until he needs to. Joba is returning to the rotation.

    • Danimal

      I sure hope so. I think this move is a clear signal. Can you imagine Joba being relegated to the Mike Stanton, Kyle Farnsworth role.

      Let’s be serious.

      Cash knows exactly what he has. He got a clear indication from Pettitte that he wasn’t pitching. So what does he do? He signs an elite 8th inning stopgap. Was this to free up Joba? I think that’s the case.

    • mustang

      Agree, but I would of stopped at “Stay tuned.”

      • MikeD

        Is that a critique of the writing or a critique of the baseball comment? : -)

        Either way, you’re right I should have ended at “Stay Tuned.”

        • mustang

          Baseball comment I could never critique anyone’s writing with my grammar.

  • mustang

    Boras is the man!

  • mustang

    “In fact, Rivera in some sense chose his own successor, going to bat for Soriano with Yankees brass to convince the team to sign him, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews.”

    I guess when God speaks the Yankees listen.

    • whozat

      Now we’re supposed to be happy when the leadership makes moves that keep today’s aging vets happy? Baseball players care about what wins TODAY’S game. They have no perspective. Of course he wanted them to sign Soriano. I’m sure that, if asked, he’d have advocated for them to move ARod to DH, sign Beltre and Crawford, and then flip Montero, Gardner, Romine and Adams for Garza.

      • mustang

        You really don’t get my hints do you?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Remember when Jeter and Damon pined for the Yankees to sign Burnett because they hated facing him?

  • burbankbogey

    Joba to the rotation makes sense I believe. Or does this now make Joba expendable and thus a trade piece?

    • mustang

      It does.

    • MikeD


  • MikeD

    So let’s throw another idea out there.

    Now that the Yankees have sacrified their first-round draft pick with the Soriano signing, is there any reason not to sign Grant Balfour? Adding Balfour will make it even easier to move Joba back into the rotation (or to trade him as part of a package to get a starter).

    Plus, by signing Balfour, they sort of screw over the Rays, who would much rather have Balfour sign with a team that still has a first-round pick. Now they would only get sandwich players.

    • YanksFan77

      Rather the Angels sign him and give them their 3rd rounder.

    • FIPster Doofus

      I’m not a fan of spending wildly on relievers, but that’s not a bad idea. There currently isn’t much of a market for Balfour, who is supposedly considering signing a one-year deal with Tampa. For that term, I’d be all for adding him. Balfour has quietly been almost as effective as Soriano over the past couple years, and if signing him puts Joba back in the rotation, I wouldn’t complain. Plus, as you said, it would hurt the Rays – who would have to resort to a lesser option along the lines of Rauch or Qualls. Also, Balfour could qualify as a Type-A free agent again next year, potentially netting the Yankees a first-round pick.

      Rivera, Soriano, Balfour, Robertson, Feliciano and Logan would be downright scary, and the rotation would look better with Joba taking Mitre’s spot and pushing him into a mop-up role.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Upon further inspection, after going to FanGraphs and looking at Balfour’s ground ball rate, I’m a lot less interested in this idea. He gives up a ton of fly balls.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Then again, Soriano’s fly ball rate is ridiculously high, too. Uh-oh…

          • Fair Weather Freddy

            The Rays ballpark isn’t exactly a pitcher’s park, and he did ok there.

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            I still hate this deal but a lot of those are infield pop-ups.

  • Captain Bawls

    Via Bob Klapisch:

    “He had no interest in paying Soriano $15 million a year, not when it was going to cost the Yankees a prospect in June’s draft. But Cashman was feeling pressure from ownership to make a move; he agreed to take on Soriano against his wishes. This was one of the few times since 2006, when George Steinbrenner withdrew from the day-to-day operations, that Cashman had been overruled.”

  • Darl

    My initial response was to be really annoyed…but when I think about october I like it alot.and im confident this team can make the playoffs.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    To think that Joba is still only 25 years old is ridiculous. It seems like he’s been around way longer than he has. With that said, as well as the addition of Larry Rothchild, I wouldn’t mind another go at the rotation.

  • YankeeInCary

    I haven’t seen (but haven’t read every reply yet) anyone comment on one important benefit….which is….that it takes away Tampa’s Closer!!! That is a win-win in that it helps the Yankees and it hurts one of their main opponents. I am not a fan of this deal…even if it returns Joba to the rotation…and feel that it is FAR too much money…and hate losing the pic…but it helps our pen, provides some insurance…and hurts the Rays…so it is better than doing nothing.

  • Danimal

    As an aside…

    I think this means Mo definitely doesn’t break 600 saves this year.

    • MikeD

      I think it was unlikely he was going to break 600 this year. Mo’s innings have decreased for six straight seasons, and are down over 20% from peak. He’d need 41 saves to reach 600 and 43 to break the all-time saves record. While it’s possible he could do that if the Yankees set him on a path, they’d have to go against the recent trends they’ve set for Mo, especially under Girardi. Mo has only once broken through 40 saves in the past five seasons.

      Keep him healthy. Use Soriano to give Mo his needed rest, and Mo will have the record in 2012.

  • kosmo

    Now maybe NY can set their sights on Carmona or Buerhle.???

  • Sal

    Great deal Yanks. A No Brainer!! We still had the same starting rotation with or without Soriano so nothing has changed, and they still have close to $20M before they reach last yr’s salary to shore up another starter and a RHB. This does mean somebody has to go, I seriously doubt Mitre will be penciled in as the 5th starter, he should remain in the pen as the long man so we have 7 players and only 6 chairs. Kudo’s Yankee Front office, Thank you.

    • David

      It is a brilliant deal. It is particularly interesting if it is true that it was prompted by Mo. It immediately makes them a much better team. It should extend Mo’s greatness by taking heat off of him, such as having to pitch more than an inning. It puts them in a great position in that if Andy returns they can leave Joba in the pen, but if Andy doesn’t return they can dangle Joba and more for a starter, on Cashman’s terms when the right one is available. The talk about the draft pick was nothing more than poker playing by Cashman. As soon as he said it I figured that Soriano was coming here.

  • Jake H

    If Joba is in the rotation I like this deal more. I hate giving up a pick in a stacked draft for him. Hopefully they get very aggressive now in the draft.

    • Ted Nelson

      The Yankees might pick up 2 picks for that one pick investment if he eventually leaves as a Type A free agent.

  • kenthadley

    yes, Joba back to the rotation. But we’ll never see those “2” draft picks, because the chances are greater that we will be in the market for a closer after this year (Mo going on 43 in 2012) than we are now. Cashman will be bidding against himself come next winter on this deal, and Sori will get his 15mil a year as a closer. So forget the draft picks.

  • bpdelia

    Its a good move. The 31st pick is easily replacable by going above slot and we still have a sandwhich pick. Many on these board are treating MLB picks as if they are NFL picks. In the NFL it is certain that you get a contributing player. No matter how “stacked” this draft is getting an impact player at 31 is unlikely unless we were going to go with signability issues.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ

      Right because it’s impossible to package prospects in a trade for someone elite.

    • Ted Nelson

      If Soriano eventually leaves as a Type A free agent you’re looking at a 2 pick return for a 1 pick investment. I’ll probably take 2 late first/sandwich shots in an average draft over one late first shot in a very good draft.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I am not a huge Joba fan (head case/closet alcoholic/weight problems/crappy mechanics but…I prefer him to Mitre who just sucks.

    I have a feeling Mariano will have lots of nagging injuries these next few years and like having Soriano to lighten Mo’s load and close when Mo goes down from time to time.

    I really am hoping that Montero and Martin will provide enough right handed pop that we don’t need to spend money on a marginal Kearns-type player. Golson 4th outfielder and yes, Cervelli as a 5th OFer. Spend all money on pitching-that’s what wins championships.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Golson should not be the 4th OF. His defense is likely to be superb, but he cannot hit enough to be relied on as a fourth OF. I’d be very comfortable with him as the 5th OF and a defensive replacement, but a good RHB who can handle LF (Andruw Jones, Scott Hairston) is still needed for the 4th OF spot.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      head case/closet alcoholic/weight problems

      you dont know any of this is true

  • jsbrendog (returns)

    i. am. so. bummed. this move sucks. makes no goddamn sense.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ


    • bpdelia

      i don’t understand how people are saying it makes no sense. OUR CLOSER s 40 years old. Look up relievers and you’ll see that most of them don’t gradually fade out. They suddenly implode when it’s over. I am not comfortable with having Rivera as our closer for two years. At some point in the next two years he will be injured, or he will be finished. He won’t pitch forever. And what do we lose? The 31st pick in the draft? Don’t worry that 31st pick will neither make nor break the Yankees system. and anyone who thinks this 12 million will prevent any move in the future is crazy

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        Look up relievers and you’ll see that most of them don’t gradually fade out. They suddenly implode when it’s over

        How does that help the argument of getting Soriano? Mo is an exception. He’s been doing this for 10+ years. Soriano has been good for 2 years. 2 damn years.

        Everyone wants the best closer but they all are never worth it. K-Rod, Lidge, Papelbon, and Nathan are all recent examples. They rise on top one eyar and fall down quite as easily.

        • OldYanksFan

          2 words. Trevor Hoffman.

          • The Real JobaWockeeZ

            Alright Mo and Hoffmann are excpetions. We’ll never see their type again.

        • Monteroisdinero

          When Mo was 30, he had been a dominant closer for 4 years. Not that different than 2 years.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        no yeah you’re right cuase great gms like drayton moore and omar minaya and jim duquette always sign players they don’t need because the area they apply to is already a team strength. cashman is just being great by addressing the bullpen which was already a strength and not a weakness. fuck the rotation and the bench and another bat/of. he is just following in the footsteps of the greats.

        This is like a moore 1b/dh signing.

      • steve s

        Bingo!!! Over 700 comments and this really is the first comment that gets to the heart of why this move makes sense and is money well spent. It is an excellent insurance policy at a cost that is much lower than the cost would be if the Yanks had to go shopping to replace Mo AFTER Mo goes down due to injury or ineffectiveness over the next 2 years. If Mo doesn’t break down then fine; but would you really bet the house that Mo ends up with more saves than Soriano over the next 2 years?

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Thats cause you’re an idiot! You’d find something to complain about if we somehow traded for King Felix

      • Fair Weather Freddy

        Sorry, meant for jsbrendog “I’m so bummed” post

  • bpdelia

    We can disagree about the move but don’t distort his record. He’s been excellent for FIVE years. He missed one season with injury. But not counting that his h/9 have been:6.6,5.9,6.3,5.2.

    His k/9 has been: 9.8/8.8/12.1/8.2

    He hasn’t had two good years. He’s had FIVE good years. In fact EvERY season he’s pitched he has been well above league average and in fact one of the best relievers in the game.

    So we can argue the relative value of a reliever. And we can argue whether the signing improves the yankees (I would say it has the potential to get us an extra 2 to 3 wins and in the playoffs he would be very valuable) buyt don’t distort his record by saying he’s had two good years. SOriano in fact has never had a NON good year.

    • mike c

      plus soriano could learn a lot working with mo…. but people here would rather whine and bitch about money and joba instead

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        He’s missed 3 seasons, not 1.

        • bpdelia

          He’s missed one out of the last 5 which is what I was going on by pointing out his h/9 since his surgery. HE missed the two seasons because of TJ surgery which now has an excellent record of being one hundred percent effective at correcting elbow ligament issues going forward.

          The one season I was talking about was in context of his h/9 and k/9 since the TJS.

          I’m not saying this is a season saving move. What I am saying is that the money isn’t a huge issue, it won’t prevent us filling another need. And it’s a clear upgrade. THis isn’t adding Jon Rauch or Steve Karsay. It’s more akin to the Flash Gordon move which incidentally ended up being a FANTASTIC move for the yanks.

          Losing the pick is unfortunate but if Soriano has a lights out year and a closer job opens up he will opt out and then we get TWO picks. If Rivera gets hurt, if he is ineffective this is a great move. ANd even without those things it’s still a nice move that improves the bullpen. SOriano is not some league average reliever who has had an up and down career. Aside from the injuries (yes a big concern I agree) he has been an elite reliever his entire career. I was simply responding to this statement ath he has had 2 good years which is patently and demonstrably false. He’s had four insanely good years and one very very very good year.

          Again, it is perfectly reasonable to argue over whether it was a good move but not by distorting his record to say he’s had two good years. Every season that Soriano has pitched as a full time reliever has been WELL above average, and four of those seasons were straight up elite seasons. So there hasn
          ‘t been any kind of wild season by seson fluctuation that would indicate, if not injured, that SOriano would be anything other than what he has been. One of the best relievers in the game

          • bpdelia

            I mean saying he’s had two good years? Dude’s career whip is 1.0. The worst era+ season of his career as a reliever is 139. YEs Era isn’t the best way to judge reliever but now we have 400 innings of data on Soriano and his career whip is 1. He career h/9, bb/9 k/9 and k/bb are as follows.
            h/9 6.3,bb/9 2.7,k/9 9.6, k/bb 4.07.

            He hasn’t had two good years. He’s had 400 innings of elite pitching.
            Make the argument it’s a bad move. That’s’ fine but the argument has to center on something other than Soriano’s ability and performance because his results are beyond reproach by any analysis.

          • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

            I admit he’s excellent when healthy. But “when healthy” is a big part when a guy has spent 33% of his career on the DL, and missed over 450 days with elbow/shoulder injuries.

            Yes TJS has a good success rate, his last surgery was “Ulnar nerve transposition + bone spur”. So TJS isn’t the only concern.

            I’ll never be comfortable giving a reliever 3 years when he’s never actually pitched 3 healthy seasons in a row. Just my opinion.

  • bpdelia

    And the other thing here is that people are assuming that this signing somehow precludes us signing a4th OF and aquiring another starter.
    Thats ludicrous. WE will still get a 4th OF, adn if a starter becomes available the F.O is not going to say “Oh well, too bad we shot our load on Soriano”

    Not ot mention this makes it much easier to trade Joba or (preferably) have him begin the year in AAA starting. Without another reliever there is no way JOba can be sent to AAA. Now it is a loss that can be easily absorbed. I would love to see JOba, Brackman, Noesi, Phelps battling in AAA to see who gets called up when one of Nova/Mitre inevitably disintegrates.

  • Kurt

    There’s no real risk in putting Joba back into the rotation because he will be playing a minor role in the bullpen (6th or 7th inning guy). With all of the young pitchers in baseball getting locked up to long-term deals, there aren’t many good options for the future other than to develop starters from within the organization. If he does well, the Yanks have a strong core for the next few years until the younger guys are ready. If not, you haven’t given up much in the bullpen crew now that Feliciano and Soriano have been added. I’m pretty sure that this is Cashman’s real Plan B after losing out on Cliff Lee.

  • bpdelia

    and this whole idea about “not screwing with Joba” by moving him back and forth? Joba has now officially lost the status where this is a consideration. Joba is now no longer an elite prospect. He is a professional pitcher who will do what he is told. No one cries for Sergio Mitre or Ivan Nova, or Chad Gaudin and AL Aceves being “screwed with” by being moved back and forth. He’s a guy like Brandon Morrow now. HE will be used where he can have value. There is nothing wrong with moving a guy back and forth as circumstances dictate. Thats PART of being a proffessional at anything. You contribute where you’re asked. Unless a compelling argument can be made that there is a significant increase in injury risk with him starting it’s obvious that Joba should be sent to AAA to start the year.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      he is out of minor league options

  • Kramerica Industries

    I strongly appreciate that Cashman is trying to salvage what has been, by and large, a lost off-season since Lee passed on them. This is an excellent move that creates a nice sense that if the Yankees lead through seven innings, they’re in strong position to win the game.

    But as we all know, the rotation is still a bit short. If Pettitte comes back, I think we all would be comfortable with this teams chances in 2011.

  • Brazilian Fan

    Mark my words. They have a trade in place for a starter with joba as the main piece.

  • Ted Nelson

    It’s just not true that “in order for the endgame to even play a part they need a strong opening.” 100% false.

    If your starter leaves after, say, 5.1 innings and in a 4 run hole with 2 men on… you can still win that game. The game is not over just because of a weak opening, especially with the strongest offense in baseball still getting 3 or 4 more innings (road v. home). At home your offense only needs to pick up 1 run per inning, and a lot of that probably coming off the other team’s bullpen. If your bullpen can’t hold the other team, your offense is basically running on a treadmill. If they can hold, you’ve got a real chance.

    Adding another high quality reliever also makes it easier to take a starter out earlier without as much worry. This could be big for a Nova, Mitre, mediocre acquisition, or AAA call-up to only have to get through the order twice, rather than facing the top of the order a third time.

    I don’t know if Soriano is or isn’t worth the money, but I do know that you can come from behind to win a baseball game.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Now sign Manny as our right handed bat, and trade for Gorzelanny, we’re all set. Andy will sign and return by June to give us a 2nd half boost, and off we go!

  • bpdelia

    Now the only question is are you willing to trade JOba for a league average SP or would you prefer to start JOba at AAA and let him try to become a league average starter. If it was me I’d sign Francis and Justin D. and have JOba in SWB. Joba’s value has never been lower. Ever. Trading him now is silly. WE know he can at least be an effective middle/late reliever. Giving him one more shot to become a starter only increases his value to the team whether that is as a player or trade bait

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Joba would have to pass through waivers first.

  • http://www.twitter.com/HulkHeyman HulkHeyman

    Cashmonkey lied about Soriano, hopefully he lied about Joba remaining in the pen.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      we can only hope that’s the case.

  • Peter

    Here’s a very optimistic viewpoint, that I like very much:


    Basically, Marchand says, now that the Yankees’ bullpen is the best in the league, Pettitte will decide to come back because the Soriano signing is a very good piece to the pitching puzzle.