Yankees designate Soriano for assignment

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Yankees have designated Alfonso Soriano for assignment, the team announced. The move clears both a 25-man and 40-man roster spot for Bruce Billings, who has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to help the overworked bullpen.

Soriano, 38, hit a miserable .221/.244/.367 (61 wRC+) with six homers in 238 plate appearances this season. He started the year as the everyday DH and, thanks in part to Carlos Beltran‘s elbow injury, wound up as a platoon right fielder losing playing time to Ichiro Suzuki. Soriano went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and some awful defensive plays yesterday, which might have been the final straw.

The Yankees are paying $5M of Soriano’s $18M salary this year — the Cubs are paying the other $13M — and they still owe him that. They now have ten days to trade him, release him, or place him on waivers. It’s inevitable he will clear waivers and be released with that salary. Soriano was a monster after being re-acquired last year, hitting .256/.325/.525 (130 wRC+) with 17 homers in 58 games. Father Time remains undefeated, unfortunately.

Earlier this season Soriano said he will consider retirement if he has a poor year and I have to think this qualifies. Another team can sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum once he is released, so he might get another chance (Red Sox?) to show he still has something left in the tank. Soriano was as fun a player to watch as anyone when he was locked in, but the time had come to move on. He wasn’t helping at all this year.

Once the pitching staff gets settled in following the Brandon McCarthy trade, the Yankees figure to call up another position player to replace Soriano. Zoilo Almonte and Yangervis Solarte are on the 40-man roster, but Jose Pirela is an interesting non-40 man option. He has crushed Triple-A pitching this year (124 wRC+) and started playing right field about a week ago. That’s probably not a coincidence. We’ll see.

Categories : Transactions


  1. Alkaline says:

    Well, here’s some moves. Thanks for the hot streak last year Sori.

    I’m okay giving up Nuno for McCarthy. I feel there’s at least more potential with McCarthy (for a 30 yr old at least). Decent peripherals this year, poor results. The HR rate is a bit worrisome. Lightning in a bottle, Aaron Small, Yankees mystique. Let’s get it done.

  2. TheRealGreg says:

    So we will be playing with no backup outfielder for now, unless we then send down Billings and call up Pirela.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I’m sure a position player (Almonte or Pirela) will be called up soon, like after tomorrow’s game at the latest, depending on whether Whitley, Miller, or Billings (or Greene if he’s called up tomorrow) is the odd man out.
      In the meantime, Wheeler and KJ both have OF experience.

    • ALZ says:

      Kelly Johnson has 130 career games in leftfield. You can resolve the situation in a few days, if someone does get injured KJ can fill in if needed.

  3. emac2 says:

    It was time to cut Soriano. Hopefully Greene is the call and we rotate a few guys to see what we have.

    Johnson can go too. Ref and Garcia can get a shot.

  4. the 84 yankee team says:

    …and so it finally begins. It’s a damn shame, but Soriano was toast. Interestingly, I called this before the start of the season when everyone was clamoring to release or trade Ichiro. Who’s the better player now? Anyway, McCarthy is much of an improvement over Nuno and the cost is nominal. His numbers are pretty decent. We’ll see. I imagine there are more moves on the horizon and the Yanks can’t hang around too long or they’re out of it. I expect a bigger move within the next week. Let’s see.

    • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

      Interestingly, I called this before the start of the season when everyone was clamoring to release or trade Ichiro.

      What you want, a cookie?

      • the 84 yankee team says:

        No. But worth reminding the folks on here which were 99.99999999999% in agreement that Ichiro was a toad, should be released, smelled weird, and god only knows what else I remember reading. It was fairly easy to see then that Ichiro was hands down the more durable player and would likely have a better season in comparison to Soriano.

        • forensic says:

          folks on here which were 99.99999999999% in agreement that Ichiro was a toad, should be released

          You might want to check your survey results again…

        • TC says:

          It’s not like Ichiro has actually been any good either. Since he’s been getting a lot more playing time he has like a 60wRC+. If it wasn’t for Mookie Betts misplaying a single into a triple he’d be 2 months without an extra base hit. Just because he’s not as bad as Soriano doesn’t mean he is good.

        • Daniel says:

          None of this sounds familiar. Actually the one who went hardest on Ichiro that I can remember is the main man Mike Axisa. And if Ichiro had been playing everyday since April he’d probably have been right anyway. Either way, I can’t remember this great battle between Soriano and Ichiro ever happening. And I’ve never even noticed your comments on the website.

      • the 84 yankee team says:

        and by durable = athletic.

      • pepes pizza says:

        I want a cookie though.

    • RetroRob says:

      Ichiro should be replaced, too.

  5. Kosmo says:

    Yanks trying to right the ship. Good.

    • Looser trader droids FotD™ says:

      More like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

      Don’t get me wrong. Moves like this have to be made. But this is one of like, 10 things this roster needs to do. And I may be under estimating.

  6. stan says:

    I guess they couldn’t stand to see one more swing and miss at a pitch in the dirt 3 feet outside.

  7. MB923 says:

    He should have been DFA when Wheeler was called up.

  8. KeithK says:

    Sorry to see him go because he’s been a solid player for the Yanks in the past and yesterday’s effort is a terrible way for a guy to go out. Might have been his last big league game too (who would sign him right now?) But it was also a move that had to be made. Good luck to him.

  9. Bill says:

    Just the beginning. Wouldn’t be surprised to see any combination of Pirela, Almonte and Refsnyder between now and the first game after the break. The departure of Ichiro wouldn’t be a shock either. Nor would a move involving either Roberts or Johnson. I guess it’s good that baseball has hit a nasty streak of mediocrity, otherwise the Yanks would be cooked.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I don’t think Roberts is going anywhere soon, which probably means no Refsnyder anytime soon.

      I’d imagine they’d keep Ichiro around as at least a 4th OF/PR/defensive replacement.

      If Solarte gets hot in AAA, maybe he could replace KJ.

      • TheRealGreg says:

        Yeah, Roberts is swinging the bat solidly lately, hearing the footsteps.

        Agree about Ichiro. Keep him as a bench player where he has been most effective.

    • the 84 yankee team says:

      It’s extremely unlikely that much happens to Ichiro or Roberts at this point, unless injured. Roberts has been mediocre at the plate, but strong in the field and overall a somewhat sound player at 2nd. He is certainly not Cano, but not sure how significant an upgrade the Yanks can make at 2nd right now when they need to address other areas and I would rather use any prospect/cash assets for those upgrades. With Solarte at AAA, they Yanks are ok at 2nd for now and for 2014. Worry about that in the offseason. Same with Ichiro. Unless the Yanks bag Stanton or some similar caliber player, why bother. Johnson, I agree, he will likely be traded and he has some value to trade to other teams. The Yanks could package Johnson and a solid prospect and actually get something in return.

  10. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    So I’d assume Billings will probably be gone after tomorrow’s game, and they’ll call up a position player to replace him.

    Or I suppose Whitley could be the odd man out, or Miller.
    Mon – Billings
    Tue – Tanaka
    Wed – McCarthy
    Thurs – Phelps
    Fri – Kuroda
    Sat – ? (Billings?, Whitley?, PTBNL?)
    Sun – Tanaka
    AS Break

    • Winter says:

      Girardi said that Billings won’t start, so Whitley stays. My guess is Almonte is coming up, but I guess it could be Pirela.

    • tom says:

      Second portion is similar to my theory.

      Sucks that Almonte and Pirela can’t hit lefties. Suzuki will be seen on the field for most of time. Solarte should be back because Wheeler can play OF.

    • forensic says:

      Almonte for Soriano shouldn’t been made a month ago, or more, already. So I’m hoping that’s it. But, I’m sure it makes too much sense to play Ichiro against lefties so I’m sure it’ll be something different.

      I would also bring Greene up and insert him in Whitley’s spot, since he’s pitching moderately well at this point and obviously Whitley isn’t doing anything good.

  11. Cuso says:

    Had to be done. But he’ll be peppering the green monster in 10 days, watch.

    • TheRealGreg says:

      And have him play the wall? That’s a good idea for them.

      Besides they already have a Soriano like player, Jonny Gomes

    • the 84 yankee team says:

      Considering the Red Sox are currently fielding perhaps the worst outfield in professional major league baseball history, I can totally see them picking up Soriano. It just makes too much sense to put him out in that juggernaut of a right field. I mean, this has Red Sox management written all over it. Individuals who make moves that lack any sense or logic whatsoever.

    • forensic says:

      He would have to make contact to do that.

  12. forensic says:


  13. W.B. Mason Williams says:

    Bring on the Zoilo

    Or the Trout.

    That’d be ok too.

  14. He needed to play every day to get hot , Joe
    ruined that too

  15. Fernando says:

    Miller or Billings goes down tomorrow for Greene. Greene goes on Monday, then gets sent down for Almonte. Miller should go any point to bring up Montgomery or Ramirez.

    • Yanks says:

      Montgomery isn’t healthy, nor has he been good this year. He wouldn’t even be a major league option if healthy.

  16. chris says:

    Thank the lord. Good start. Next up – trade kelly johnson for a used flesh light.

  17. Nathan says:

    Thanks for last year, Sori and the little trip down memory lane.

  18. trr says:

    Let’s be honest, it was a move that had to be made, and was probably overdue at that. I suppose yesterday’s pathetic performance was the last straw

  19. tom says:

    Billings has pitched poorly in AAA so I guess he will be DFAed to make a room for Pierla.

    Otherwise, Almonte may be brought back this Tuesday.

  20. ALZ says:


  21. The Other Matt says:

    I’m sad to see Soriano go, though you could see it coming for more than a few weeks now. If I were the Red Sox I’d pick him up if, and when, he passed through waivers and see if he could turn it around. As crazy as it sounds, he can’t be much worse than what they have right now. Despite the fact that he has looked terrible this season, I wouldn’t put it past him having another hot-streak left in him, similar to last year, though maybe not to that extent. I’m sure, if he wants to continue playing, he’ll have a couple teams willing to bring him on board.

    Obviously, this opens up the spot immediately for Billings today, and McCarthy in a couple days, whenever he arrives. But I wonder if this means we’ll see Jose Pirela brought up soon, or if Zoilo Almonte will get another shot in the big leagues.

  22. chris says:

    With these distractions out of the way, we can concentrate on whats important. Derek jeters farewell tour. I am on pins and needles about whether he is going to finish the season with more homers or surf boards.

  23. TheRealGreg says:

    Pinstripe Alley ?@pinstripealley 11m
    If you want to speculate, Zoilo Almonte isn’t in the lineup for Scranton. Refsnyder and Pirela are.


    • tom says:

      What the heck? We won’t need him until Tuesday. That 2 day off for him.

      If Kuroda pitches well today, Miller, Huff and Billings will be available for tomorrow game backing up nerving wreck Greene.

      Maybe it is just in case if either Billings or Miller pitches too much today.

      • TheRealGreg says:

        I’m just upset that it is not Pirela. The only reason that defends it is that he hasn’t played the outfield that much in his career, especially RF. Still I want to see someone new. I kind of think that we already know what Almonte is.

    • forensic says:

      Good, that’s the better move to make at this point. No 40-man move needed and hopefully (though unlikely) Girardi will do it right and play Ichiro vs. lefties and Almonte vs. righties.

    • chris says:

      Almonte, pirela, and reffy are entirely too young and healthy to be added to the roster at this point. They need more seasoning.

  24. chris says:

    Proposed trade. Beltran, mccann, ellsbury, and roberts for robinson cano.

  25. chris says:

    I have run the numbers in a bunch of different ways. The results keep coming out the same. Cashman is a poor gm. We have a 200 million dollar payroll and a 43 and 43 record. We have the worst infield i have seen in my 40 years of watching baseball. We are saddled with a half dozen albatross contracts in arod, cc, tex, beltran, mccant, and ellsbury. Our minor league system is in shambles. We got no first round pick this year. We have resorted to spending 30 million on 16 year old dr kids.

    Am i missing anything?

  26. Hiroki Kureddarda says:

    Good. This guy was trash. He couldn’t play a lick on defense. And if you can’t do that you better hit. But he couldn’t even hit lefties.

  27. Looser trader droids FotD™ says:

    Thanks for the memories Fonzie.

    If someone with awesome Bref Foo is willing to do the work, I’d be willing to bet that Soriano has among the very highest earnings/WAR in history.

  28. Mandy Stankiewicz says:

    Great having you for round 2, but this had to happen. Good luck Sori.

  29. Lukasz says:

    Thats sad, I really liked Sori last year. Too bad the clock struck twelve this year

  30. Dan in Athens says:

    Wow. A guy who is on a lot of Yankee leader boards and loved the team. This is a sad day. I hate you bandwagoners so fn much. A good guy and a helluva a player for long time might be hanging it up because its time. Even in the best scenarios ie bobby mercer and Donnie baseball this isn’t a “yay” time. I’m just glad there was no anonymous blogging then.

    Then again it’s summer, so there is no class here

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