Rafael Soriano Gives The Yankees A Great Bullpen 15


The Yankees made their first “big splash” in the free agent market yesterday, signing former Rays’ closer Rafael Soriano to a three year deal worth $35 million, which does include an opt out clause after each of the first two seasons.

Now obviously, Soriano will not be the closer for the Yankees this year or in 2012. I think Mariano Rivera will probably get the job done, just a hunch though. So that means the Yanks are paying a lot of money and giving up a first round draft pick for a setup man, but I still think it is a good move.

The Yankees for years have searched for a consistent bridge to Mariano in the ninth inning, and they have finally found their man with Soriano, who had an outstanding year in 2010.

Not only did he lead the league in saves, but he had a very impressive 1.73 ERA and a 0.802 WHIP over 62 innings pitched. He also had 57 strikeouts compared to his 14 walks.

The only question I have is will he lose any psychological edge by moving from the closer to the setup man role. We have seen time and time again that when closers are brought in during non-save situations, they tend to get hit around a little more. We will see how that works out.

But if Soriano remains true to form, then the Yankees have made a great signing, because this move takes some of the pressure off of their weaker starting rotation by shortening games. Joe Girardi is going to have no problem pulling A.J. Burnett or anyone else in the sixth inning and handing the ball to his suddenly strong bullpen.

Now that Soriano is in the mix, the Yankees may have the best bullpen in all of baseball. They added Pedro Feliciano earlier this offseason, teaming him up with Boone Logan to give them two solid left handers in the ‘pen. Plus, they still have Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson, oh, and Mariano Rivera too.

Overall, a great signing in my opinion, and the Yankees still have about $20 million left in their so called “budget” to sign an extra outfielder and likely a cheap, low-risk, high-reward starting pitcher.


15 thoughts on “Rafael Soriano Gives The Yankees A Great Bullpen

  • Mike S.

    …and if Mark Prior can somehow comeback to be a mop/up man, middle reliever that can give one to two innings… or re-sign Aceves for that kind of role …

  • Lucas Weick Post author

    I wouldn't get my hopes up for Prior, but I agree, Aceves (if healthy) would be a good addition to the bullpen as well.

  • Mindkind

    I don't expect much from Prior because of his injury history. Now Aceves I don't understand why the Yankees haven't sign him. I know he is injured but when healthy he provided a lot of effective outings. Sign Aceves before some team gets him. For me he's the Mendoza of this era.

  • Lucas Weick Post author

    Aceves can definitely be a good pitcher when he is healthy, but I'm not entirely certain that he is right now and I don't think the Yankees are either. I haven't heard an update anywhere about him for quite a while now, but if he hasn't signed with a team yet, then there is obviously still a lot of doubt about his health. But if he's healthy, then the Yankees should look into him, at least invite him to Spring Training.

  • pete

    Best bullpen in baseball? Rivera and Soriano are the only great guys in the pen. None of the others are anything special.

  • Brandon Burkhart

    Yeah, the Yankees probably have the best bullpen in baseball now but the bullpen wasn't a team weakness before the signing. This is an absurd contract for a set up man that seems like a panic signing. The Yankees are going to have 25 million dedicated to the 8th and 9th innings with one, maybe two reliable starters. I know there was some disconnect between the ownership and Cashman but this is just one of the dumbest Yankee signings in recent memory.

    Also, what's Joba Chamberlain's role on this team now? I guess it's always good to give up on a 25 year old who's been already been a successful starter and reliever.

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