Catching up a little bit from the weekend here, but two significant things happened surrounding the Yankees and free agent reliever Rafael Soriano.
The first was a conversation the Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had with Chad Jennings of the Journal News. Essentially Cashman emphatically said that the Yankees would not give up a first round draft pick to sign the Type-A pitcher.
“I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman said. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.”
After that came out Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote that the Yankees are still in on Soriano. Now this could mean one of two things. The first, and most likely, is that Heyman is being fed this information from Soriano’s agent Scott Boras in order to keep the fear in other teams that the Yankees remain interested in his client in order to drive up his value.
The other less likely, but still possible, option is that the Yankees are exploring the possibility of a sign-and-trade for Soriano. Essentially the thinking is that the Yankees don’t want to surrender their first round pick for him, but perhaps they could find a team that would. Or better yet, they could perhaps find a team that has A. already lost it’s first round draft pick, B. has a protected first round pick because of their place in the standings, or C. both.
The way that works is if a team has a draft pick in the top 15 overall (they finished 15-30 in the standings last year) it is protected. If one of those teams signs a Type-A free agent they don’t lose their first round pick, instead they lose their second. If that same team has already signed a Type-A free agent and lost its second round pick and they sign another Type-A free agent they would lose their third round pick.
The funny thing is that there is a team out there that fits perfectly in this scenario. William over at The Captain’s Blog wrote about the possibility of the Yankees working out a deal with the Nationals. The Nats finished in the bottom of the league last year and thus have a protected first rounder. They also signed Jayson Werth so they’ve already lost their second rounder. If they signed Soriano they would lose their third round pick.
The thing that makes the Nationals an even better fit is that they lost Type-A free agent Adam Dunn this winter. As compensation for losing Dunn the Nats get a first round pick and a supplemental round pick (the supplemental round occurs between the first and second rounds). So essentially the Nats are guaranteed three draft picks before the second round.
What the Yankees would now have to do is they would have to work out a deal with Soriano and then convince the Nationals to sign him to that deal. The Nationals and Yankees would then have to work out a deal for Soriano. What it comes down to is the Yankees would have to give up the value of the Nationals third round pick.
Cashman called this entire situation a “legal maneuver” and noted that it is both difficult and rare, but it is certainly possible. They wouldn’t necessarily have to do it with the Nationals either, but they do seem to be the best fit. Let’s see if they can pull it off.