Yankees “in contact” with Rafael Soriano


Update (5:17pm): For what it’s worth, Heyman says the talks are just preliminary.

5:01pm: Well this was inevitable. Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are “in contact” with free agent reliever Rafael Soriano, while Andrew Marchand hears from Scott Boras (Soriano’s agent) that the righty would be willing to take a setup role in New York. We’ve covered the possibility of the Yankees adding the former Rays’ closer ad nauseum this offseason, so there’s not much more to add. We just spoke about him on today’s podcast.

Like I said though, it was inevitable that the two sides would be connected at some point. Even if it’s just to feign interest and drive up the price for others.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Mattchu12 says:

    Unless we can get him for a lot less than we’re all expecting, I don’t want to sign Soriano unless we are planning on moving Joba Chamberlain to the rotation, which I’d be way in favor of.

    But considering that they are highly unlikely to do this, I say pass.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Still amazes me how many ppl want to see Joba get another chance to start.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        If this offseason has taught us anything, it’s that young, cost-controlled starting pitching is one of (if not the) most valuable asset a team can have.

        • Mattchu12 says:

          Whoops. Double post.

        • Except that by now, Joba isn’t exactly young (going to be 26 by the end of the season) nor cheap since he’s going to be arbitration eligible.

          • Mattchu12 says:

            Both of those are young and cheap in my book, especially the latter to the Yankees.

          • MikeD says:

            Just a small point yet an annoyance, but there’s no need to age a player by a full year to try to make your point. Yes, Joba will be 26 at the end of next season (like one week before the season ends), and he’ll be 27 the end of the following season and 28 the end of the season after that, etc. Bottom line is he’s 25, not 26, which for a power pitcher is not old.

            Andrew Brackman is also 25, and has yet to pitch above AA. He’s also not old when the reason for him still only reaching AAA (if not the Majors) in 2011 are taken into account. Pitcher career arcs are judged differently than position players.

            Of course, now that I have my annoyance out of the way!, they really need to give Joba a shot at the rotation. I don’t necessarily believe Cahsman when he says “Joba’s a reliever,” and that his stuff doesn’t “translate” as well to being a starter. Remember, he also said (when Joba was a starter) that Joba would remain a starter since he couldn’t loosen up as quickly anymore to be a reliever. I think whatever story he tells to the media is one of convenience, and even he’ll never open up the “Joba to the rotation” can of worms again until he’s sure it’s going to happen.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          And yet the Yankees don’t want to take advantage of that opportunity SMH

      • Esteban says:

        Still amazed me that there are people that don’t, considering the state of the rotation.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        If this offseason has taught us anything, it’s that quality, young, cost-controlled starting pitching is one of (if not the) most valuable assets a team can have.

        • Avi says:

          I don’t see Joba being an effective starter. In ’09 as a starter his fastball was 89-92 MPH. Even as a reliever he’s in the low to mid 90′s now. He’s not the guy we all got crazy excited about in ’07 when he was throwing 98-101 MPH. Ever since the shoulder injury in ’08 he hasn’t thrown as hard. There’s just not a lot to be excited about with him. Can he put up a 4.50 ERA as a starter? probably, but he’s more valuable as a plus reliever. I think this is the Yankees thinking and I agree with them.

          • Steve H says:

            In 2009 his fastball averaged 92.5 MPH.

            Plenty of starters have success at 92.5 MPH and lower.

          • Mattchu12 says:

            At the risk of getting yelled at for “hi-jacking” the Soriano thread, I feel like I should note that Joba was consistently in the 90-95 mph range during 2009 and usually closer to the higher number than the lower one.


            I honestly believe that Joba could be a sub-4.00 starter in 2011, and easily a better starter than the likes of Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, and the AAA crew. And honestly, the market having the likes of Soriano, Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, and Jon Raunch while hte best free agent starter out there is Jeff Francis or Kevin Millwood, shows exacly why Joba is much more valuable as a starting pitcher.

            Even at a 4.50 ERA, he is far more valuable to us right now as a starter. If signing the likes of Soriano makes that happen, I’m all for it.

          • Steve H says:

            Pitchers whose average FB was less than 92.5 MPH this year.*

            Gavin Floyd
            Cole Hamels
            Gio Gonzalez
            John Danks
            Matt Cain
            Chad Billingsley
            Chris Carpenter
            Tim Lincecum
            Cliff Lee
            Adam Wainwright
            Tim Hudson

            Among others.

            *disclaimer: I am not comparing Joba to these pitchers, simply stating that Joba’s fastball velocity as a starter in 2009 was more than enough to be a successful pitcher

            • Mattchu12 says:


            • Avi says:

              I see, pretty good. I guess I can see Joba being as effective as Gavin Floyd. Some of the better guys have other qualities that Joba just doesn’t. For example: Wainwright – elite breaking pitch, Lee – other wordly control, Lincecum – Elite change-up and better breaking pitch, Hudson – better movement on the FB (sinker) etc

              • Mattchu12 says:

                Joba’s slider is pretty damn good. And at 26, those other pitches has plenty of time to develop into good pitches as well. This is the price we pay for rushing him to the Majors and never letting him return to the minors.

              • Avi says:

                I guess what I mean to say is that I don’t see Joba being an ace like we all once thought he could be.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            the problem is he’s not a plus reliever. He’s a dime a dozen middle reliever right now.

    • Sal says:

      I hope they sign him and I am sure that they are going to do it with or without Andy. They are eventually going to swoop in and get him at bargain price since his options are limited. 2 years @ ?$ with a third year option/buy out. We have to replace Wood. Give Joba a shot to start in the spring and if he does not pitch well put him back in the bullpen. Its not that complicated.

  2. bexarama says:

    The more and more I think about it, the more I want nothing to do with Soriano. At all.

    (With one exception, and I’m not trying to open a can of worms: if it gets Joba back to the rotation, I’m down.)

  3. Camilo Gerardo says:

    too old as players usually are that last this long unsigned

  4. Esteban says:

    What other teams have expressed interest in soriano?
    What’s the consensus on acceptable contracts for soriano?

  5. rob says:

    i actually think its a good idea soriano a very solid closer thats played in AL east and pitched great on tampa.why not streghnthen the bullpen (unless hes asking for CRAZY amt. i like the idea of him settin up for mo

  6. Reggie C. says:

    Soriano would be an utterly fantastic addition to the team on a 2-year basis. I don’t care about the loss of the #31 pick given that the Yanks have shown they’ve rather skip the Ranaudos, Zach Lees, and Nick Castellanos of the draft.

    If Soriano is willing to take the role of the high-leverage reliever along with the usual 8ht inning role, then it’d give Joe G. a versatile pitching weapon.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Oh good grief. They passed on those guys one year. One year! They went for the high end guys with Cole, Heathcott, Joba, Brackman, etc.

      (Also, they didn’t have a chance to draft Lee. The Dodgers picked before the Yanks.)

      • CP says:

        (Also, they didn’t have a chance to draft Lee. The Dodgers picked before the Yanks.)

        That was because Cashman was too stupid to know that winning games would lead to a worse draft pick!

      • Reggie C. says:

        I might have some residual 2010 draft class discomfort lingering, but that aside, if the Yanks are planning on spreading out the money in a deeper draft class featuring a number of fellas who’ll be demanding premium slot money to sign, then the value of the #31 pick drops.

      • Avi says:

        Some first round pick perspective: of the Yankees top 10 prospects only two were first round picks (Brackman and Heathcott). Over the last 18 years only 3 Yankee first round picks have become regular major leaguers: Eric Milton, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Joba was a supplemental round pick at #41 about where they’re Vazquez compensation pick will be.
        I’m not dying for the Yanks to sign Soriano here but the value of this #31 pick is being blown WAY out of proportion.

    • ZZ says:

      This may be a radical theory, but maybe the Yankees just wanted to draft Cito Culver.

  7. CS Yankee says:

    You don’t give up a 1st rounder for a closer…let alone a high priced one with prior injury risk.

    I wish they would wake up and put Joba back into the SP equation; hopefully Cash told Joba to prepare as a starter and is just punking all the MSM/agents/teams when he says his stuff only works as a closer.

    Does anyone really think that SuperNova & Meat-tray are better suited than the Javy/Hughes/Joba projections going into 2010?

    • dan genovese says:

      any team that has mitre on it is a loser.

      • CP says:

        I agree! Those 2009 Yankees really sucked.

        • bexarama says:

          Ugh you beat me to my comment :(

          • Mattchu12 says:

            You can use it next time someone talks about how bad Cashman sucks, you know, the guy who was in charge in 2009, which was, you know, a season ago.

            • bexarama says:

              Well that was just due to the performance of the players, you know.

              Of course, the failures of the many, many, many, many, many Yankees teams under Cashman that have failed us all in the end – and let’s keep in mind that without many Red Sox collapses in the past, the Yankees would look even worse, but Theo’s still great – are entirely due to Cashman.

              /Was Watching’d

      • So you’re saying that the 2010 Yankees – who won 100 games (counting the postseason) and had Mitre make starts in place of Andy last may – were a loser.

        Makes sense, coming from you.

    • CP says:

      You don’t give up a 1st rounder for a closer…let alone a high priced one with prior injury risk.

      It’s a draft pick. The closer is much more valuable than the draft pick.

      Of course, the contract is likely going to be outrageous, so I wouldn’t want Soriano but the draft pick is basically irrelevant.

      • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

        Of course, the contract is likely going to be outrageous, so I wouldn’t want Soriano but the draft pick is basically irrelevant.

        It may get overblown some, but it’s not at all irrelevant. Especially when the new CBA might prevent the Yankees from handing out overslot bonuses. In what is supposed to be a loaded draft, I want them to have as many picks as possible. Obviously losing a pick shouldn’t prevent them from signing someone, but I think the point most posters have is that Soriano is not that guy.

    • Jobu The Voodoo Troll says:

      You had me going, but then you hit the Javy gong!

      • CS Yankee says:

        Going into 2010 Javy was coming off about his best year in his career, so the projection by most was that he would be an incredible 4th SP.

        Now, the reality…not at all…i would be ok in you saying he was lazy, fearful, heck even Pavano-like but it wouldn’t make it right. Florida, I think over paid (which they never do) so the truth likely is somewhere in the middle.

  8. FIPster Doofus says:

    This would reek of signing someone just for the sake of doing it. Could the bullpen use an upgrade? Sure. But not for the contract Soriano is likely to get. He’s over 30, has dealt with major injuries multiple times in the past and will cost a first-rounder – which would go to division-rival Tampa – in addition to the aforementioned exorbitant price tag. He’s obviously a good pitcher, but I just can’t get excited about the possibility of the Yankees signing Soriano.

    • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

      I agree with pretty much all of this.

      Plus, he scares me. He gets a fair amount of fly balls, and I can’t imagine that playing too well as a righty in NYS. His numbers looked pretty last year, but they were bolstered a bit by a .212 BABIP (compared to .258 career) and a 4.8% HR/FB (compared to 7.8% career). While I still think he’d be solid, I wouldn’t expect another 1.73 ERA from him next year and I have a hard time believing he’ll be worth a big contract + first round pick, especially when the bullpen is not a particular area of need.

  9. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Man fuck this shit.

  10. dan genovese says:

    one year 8 million.

  11. dan genovese says:

    the rotation sucks.might as well have a good bullpen..

  12. Anthony Murillo says:

    I’m 50/50 on this.

    Surrendering a first draft pick for an injury prone relief pitcher on top of paying him closer money does not sit well with me.

    Having a dominant bullpen is appealing though. Rivera/Soriano/Roberston/Chamberlain/Feliciano/Logan/Mitre (hopefully Pettitte comes back and Mitre becomes the rarely used long man) is a pretty damn good bullpen, perhaps the best in baseball. It could also take some pressure off the rotation but…eh.

    Like I said, I’m 50/50 on this. I’m not totally against it because I’m starting not to care that much about the draft pick.

  13. steve (different one) says:

    Wow, heyman is reporting the yankees are in on a Boras client? That’s something to get worked up about…

  14. Kyle98 says:

    Can someone tell me what Heyman’s latest tweet means? It says Pettitte is still first order of business, but does that mean Soriano wont be mentioned until Pettitte decides?

    • MikeD says:

      I’m still trying to figure out Heyman’s HOF ballot.

      Yet if I was to take a guess, it’s the obvious. They’re first order of business is bringing back Pettitte. He’s yet to say he’s not returning, which means he must still be heavily considering both options. While I know the mood on Pettitte as turned negative the last week or so with the belief being he’s retiring, I’m still of the beleif he’s coming back.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      Cashman has already gone on record by saying Andy won’t keep him from making a move. So, in other words, Heyman is a twit. As usual.

  15. mustang says:

    Forget the money, the risk of signing a reliever long term, and the “PICK” some people would sell their own Yankees souls to see Joba in the rotation. Enter Scott Boras apparently super agent to the devil himself like said yesterday the guy is good.

    Too funny!

  16. Monteroisdinero says:

    Other than games CC pitches, how many close games would/could Soriano be pitching in, in the eighth inning? Almost all of them. Yankee starters not named CC rarely pitch in the 8th inning. The guy just finished his 30 year old season as the dominant closer on the team that beat us. He has pitched less total innings, at his age, than Mariano had. Sign him.

  17. mrlojix says:

    With Joba… its not so much the velocity that scares me… i think he has command issues. And thats the reason he struggled in 09′. He falls behind early in the counts and it results in high pitch counts while he’s in the 4th inning.

  18. Robert9995 says:

    I think that if it would be possible to sign soriano, they should definately do it because, the have à setup man for Mo and they could trade Joba for à starting pitcher, because I don’t think Joba’s ready for THE job

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