He’s back, in pinstripes that is. The trade sending Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano to the New York Yankees is complete. The only item that slowed the trade was waiting for Soriano to officially wave his no trade clause. Major League Baseball approved the deal Friday morning.
In return for Soriano the Yankees are sending Class A pitching prospect Corey Black to the Cubs. Black was never going to make the big club as a starter and was pegged as a hard throwing (can hit 97) relief possibility down the line. The Cubs have also agreed to pay $17.7 million of the $24.5 million remaining on Soriano’s contract. Soriano returns to the team he broke into the majors on in 1999 as a second baseman. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2003 as part of the Alex Rodriguez deal.
To say Soriano is happy to be back in New York is an understatement.
“I’m happy that I have the opportunity to come back to New York, where I started my career,” Soriano said. “I’m happy I can try to help the team to win and make the playoffs.”
The question is whether or not the now 37 year old outfielder will help the Bronx Bombers. Soriano, who is hitting .254, with 17 home runs and 51 RBI, is expected to be a much needed right-handed power presence for a team uncharacteristically devoid of right-handed pop in 2013. If July is any representation of what the Yankees are getting then they will be in much better shape. In July Soriano has eight home runs and 16 RBI and even scored 13 runs. Soriano comes back to New York in the midst of a hot streak.
To say the right-handed hitters in New York have been underwhelming in 2013 is an understatement. The last right-handed Yankee to hit a home run was Jayson Nix on June 25th. You read that correctly it has been one month since a Yankee went deep from the right side of the plate. Yankee right-handed hitters have been plagued with the same disease in 2013, they just can’t produce as reflected by their .221/.283/.311 stat line. Vernon Wells who started the season playing great baseball has not connected on a long ball since May 15th.
With that in mind what are the New York Yankees players and their manager saying about the deal. Mark Teixeira, who played with Soriano in Texas appears to think it is a good deal.
“We had a great time together. He’s happy — he’s like Robinson Cano, one of those guys that’s always happy. Loves playing the game. Incredible talent. I love the move.”
Team captain and face of the franchise, Derek Jeter, remembers what Soriano can bring to a ball club when he is on his game.
“He had a lot of power, stole a lot of bases. Sori did a lot when he was here. He was pretty exciting,”
Joe Girardi might not be singing his praises but even the Yankee skipper understands what value Soriano will bring to a Yankee team that has been inept from the right side of the plate the last few months.
“I hope it makes us better, a lot better. You’re able to split up your lefties a little bit, too, by putting him in the middle. Hopefully it helps our lineup.”
While fans and players should not expect the 30/30 player of the early 2000s, they should expect an increase in productivity because of the deal. Stolen bases are not Soriano’s bread and butter anymore but he still carries 30 home run power to the plate. Soriano is all but guaranteed to be an upgrade from the right-side of the plate. Will Soriano save the day and take them to a World Series title? I won’t go that far but I am certain he will bring pop back to the right side of the plate for the Bronx Bombers.
Hopes are still high for the injury plagued folks in New York. At the time of the trade the Yankees are currently 6 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East and 2 1/2 games out in the wildcard race. They are in striking distance and gave up what amounts to nothing to bolster their chances during the stretch run. Only time will judge the trade but for a change the Yankees weren’t the team mortgaging the farm to bring in a player approaching the trade deadline. Soriano will make his presence felt immediately as he is being inserted as the cleanup hitter in the Yankees lineup