Rivera Convinced Yankees to Sign Soriano & Plans to Act as Mentor

Via Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

For weeks now, the Yankees have downplayed their interest in Rafael Soriano. Character issues, they said. Immature. Had run-ins with Joe Maddon in Tampa and Bobby Cox in Atlanta. Despite his indisputable wealth of talent, Soriano has been on three teams in nine years and left a trail of disgruntled ex-teammates in his wake. Not worth the risk, not at the price he and his agent, Scott Boras, were asking.

And now, suddenly, Soriano is about to become a Yankee.

According to the source, who insisted upon anonymity because he is not authorized to speak until Soriano passes his physical and the deal is official, [Mariano Rivera] played no small role in that.

In fact, it appears that he played a huge role. “Mariano knows this kid very well,” the source said. “All those issues the Yankees were concerned with came up in the negotiations, but Mariano spoke to Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner and convinced [them] that he had matured and was worth getting. He told them he would look after the kid as a Yankee, bring him along so that in two years, he’ll be ready to close for them.”

This is a really interesting story. Hopefully it works out well for the Yankees that under Mo’s tutelage Soriano becomes a positive influence in the clubhouse. Maybe he can even teach him a cutter too. Just keep in mind not to expect miracles. If Mariano could just teach anybody his cutter he would have taught plenty of the Yankees pitchers over the past 15 years or so.

It’s also not going to keep him from using his opt-out clauses to the best of his advantage. Soriano’s agent is Scott Boras. That means that if Soriano thinks he can opt out at the end of the first or second year and get more money he will. Even if, possibly especially if, it hurts the Yankees. And if he’s hurt and can’t fulfill his contract on the mound, he’ll gladly collect the full $35 million.

So while this is definitely a cool story and might be a great thing for both the Yankees and Soriano, it doesn’t really change a whole lot.

It is interesting to think though that Rivera might have more pull within this organization than Brian Cashman himself. Cashman wanted no part of Soriano, but at the insistence of Rivera the Yankees went out and signed Soriano.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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8 Responses to Rivera Convinced Yankees to Sign Soriano & Plans to Act as Mentor

  1. Mindkind says:

    Rafael Soriano represented by Scott Boras will opt out of this contract after the second year when Mariano is heading to retirement and the Yankees will be looking for a new closer. Boras will have what the Yankees need and they will have to pay BIG bucks to get Soriano. I hope that if the Yankees don't move Joba back to the starting rotation that by that time he would have regained his lockdown stuff and the Yankees can make him the closer and let Soriano and Boras walk. That would be awesome if Joba doesn't become elite again or gets traded then in two years the Yanks will be getting abused by Boras.

  2. Will says:

    First it was Levine who ordered the signing, now it is Mariano?

  3. Rob Abreezy says:

    "Even if, possibly especially if, it hurts the Yankees."

    Where the hell did you learn grammar ??

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      There’s nothing wrong with that sentence from what I can see. It may not roll off the tongue with ease but it follows all rules of English grammar. I can’t even believe we’re talking about this.

      As for the signing, I still don’t like it but feel a slight bit better knowing that Mo is so supportive of it. As for the contract structuring, what the heck is going on in the Yankee’s front office. I suppose if he opts out, it must at least mean he had a great season and he’ll be a Type A. I would feel immensely better if it were a mutual option for the third year. Committing $35M over 3 years for a pitcher not named Mariano Rivera seems like an awful risk to reward to scenario.

      • Rob Abreezy says:

        It's wrong from this grammatical standpoint…He can simplify it by saying: "Even if it hurts the Yankees.."

        OR, "Especially if it hurts the Yankees"

        Adding more words does not make it more clear..it just muddles his message.

        As for the signing, it makes sense in every way…The fact that Mo supports it, should make you feel at ease, since Mo knows more about pitching, more about character and personalities regarding pitching in New York than any of us….Let's remember that Rob Abruzzese, feels that closers are overrated. Ergo, he must feel that Mo is overrated. Thus Mo's contract is also a bad contract..If you're going to complain about Soriano's contract then complain about Mo's as well.

  4. Susan says:

    Cashman's brilliant idea was to sign a proven loser like Luis Vizciano, sign a former Cubs pitcher who hasn't thrown a pitch in five years and be interested in someone like Bartolo Colon. I'm glad he got overruled on this one. Honestly, I'd really like to see the Yankees sign a new GM in the near future.

  5. smurfy says:

    wow, I call that news! Whew, I have a sore neck from being jerked around so much, trying to understand this stuff without such a key piece to the puzzle.

    So the starters really only have to cover six good innings? Andy, Phil, AJ, even CC may benefit from such, not to mention Ivan and Sergio.

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