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Nice work by Scott Boras on the Rafael Soriano deal

Jan 14, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

Rafael Soriano Rays

The Rafael Soriano deal represents some pretty sweet work by Scott Boras. Not just the in the sell-ice-to-Eskimos sense — the Yankees already have a pretty decent bullpen ace — but also in its structure.

As was reported all over the place, the contract calls for Soriano to make $10 million this season, $11 million in 2012 and $14 million in 2013. But the final two years are player options, which means that Soriano can opt-out after this season. Or after 2012. This is savvy because there’s a non-trivial chance that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will do away with free agent compensation picks heading into 2012, and Soriano’s status as a Type-A was probably the biggest thing hindering his marketability this year. No one wants to give up a first round pick if they don’t have to.

So, if Soriano has a great year, he can make big money again next winter. And of course, then the deal is way better for the Yankees than first thought because it could only be a one year deal. If he doesn’t? Well, they’re still the Yankees and they can handle it.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Jan 14, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Now it’s up to Girardi to handle these resources well. Don’t want him to necessarily turn into TLR, but he better put his thinking cap on a little straighter.
    Is there a spot in KC or with the Newark Bears for THE FAT TOAD? If the starter has to have the hook early, I definitely don’t want him star-gazing on the mound.

  2. sanitychecker - Jan 14, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    You’re giving Boras far too much credit.
    “An official said the player options were the Yankees’ idea because they wanted Soriano to be comfortable.”
    http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=6020119

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 14, 2011 at 8:33 AM

      And how would they know that would make Soriano comfortable if Boras didn’t give them that idea? Boras has never been passive participant in a negotiation. Ever.

  3. Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    I still think the Yankees need to do something about their SP rotation. By 2011 projected bWar rankings they are wayyy behind the curve still. The top rotation in baseball is a combined 20.7 assuming the Phillies trade Blanton and use Kyle Kendrick as # 5, I guess even higher with Blanton still on board. A 3 way tie for 2nd best by bWar is Dodgers, Angels, and W Sox at 14.5. The SF Giants are third best at 14.3. I’ll end it there by saying Boston is 8th at 12.5, And the NY Yanks are down at 15th best at 9.2.

    Teams with a mere fraction of the Yankees payroll are ranking much higher. Fla ? 9th place at 12.3 . Oakland is 13.7

    I’m not trying to rub Yankee fans the wrong way, and I’m not making predictions. I’m just saying that if they want to shoot for anything but the wildcard, they need to do something with their rotation to make it better. The BoSox are going to be a force this season to say the least, with vastly improved offense and a pitching staff that’s just plain better.

    • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

      just plain better? explain how.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        bwar tells you, I don’t need to. This is why it exists.

    • BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      Boston’s starting pitching staff is a teeny bit better. Let’s say Sabathia and Lester cancel each other out. Bucholz blows Burnett away. Hughes is better than Beckett at this point. Pettite comes back, and he’s better than Lackey. Pettite doesn’t come back, then Lackey beats anything the Yankees can throw out there. Fifth starter, who cares. Slight edge to Boston, but it hinges on Pettite being back.
      And Boston’s offense will be better by default. They lost Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Cameron for most of the season. They get Youk, Ellsbury and Pedroia back. They replace Cameron with Crawford, a big upgrade. And you figure Gonzalez will have a year that equates to the sick year Beltre had last year. They’ll be better – not worlds better, but better.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        I think Gonz will be wayyyy better in Fenway. If you look at his hit tracker from Petco, he’d have had so many more hits if he was doing it in Boston instead. They actually showed the difference on MLB network the other night. But I forget the numbers of course. I’m thinking they’ll have the best O in baseball next season with everyone on staff playing to Par. Just off the top of my head. And Crawford can only do better there too. I think 2011 will be a good year for Boston and it’s fans.

        As far as the pitching? Sure 3 points in bWar “projected mind you” doesn’t make or break the season for anyone. It’s just a pretty good predictor if everyone stays on the same path of ability as history shows us. Boston has the best shot as of now of winning the AL imo.

    • bigharold - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      The RS rotation is by no means just plain better. In fact they are very similar in that what they have, like the Yankee, is two dependable starters and three question marks. And, even with Jenks and Wheeler the RS pen is not as good as the Yankees, especially after adding Soriano.

      Offensively, all the RS did was replace production that left. So, if everybody comes back healthy and nobody has an off year they potentially can be about as good as they were last year.

      I don’t see either the Yankees or the RS as a lock for winning the division but I don’t see that the RS have made up the six games from last year either. Epstein finally convinced John Henry that he needed to ink big contracts in order to keep with the Yankees. Starting next year we all get to see if the RS inked the right guys. The Yankees didn’t get the one guy that the really wanted and that really is the extent of their disappointment this off season. Face it, starting pitching was pretty thin after Lee, especially if you consider Pavano as not an option. The RS had a big off season but the needed it too. Had the RS not replaced Martinez and Beltre they would have spent the 2011 season trying to stay out of third place.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    I think that Jonny 5 is implying that even thought the Yankees should be in good shape if they enter the 8th inning with the lead, there will be quite a lot of games in which they will not enter the 8th inning with the lead.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      I think they’ll be sitting pretty with a lead 7th – on. I also think Cash must have his head up his rear end to allow the team with a salary as high as it is to have 14 teams with a better rotation. Some with less than a quarter of the salary burden. By business management standards, a big fat F.

      • BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        The Yankees need to love themselves some Joe Blanton. That’ll cure their ills.

      • bigharold - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        Besides Lee and Pavano,(which isn’t really an option) who should the Yankees signed/traded for? Grenkie? I’d guess that they determined that it was too risky and too expensive. Clean out the farm system for King Felix? Probably fruitless.

        It seemed to me that it was Lee or bust all along. Due in no small part because there wasn’t much available as starters this off season.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        Harold, It wasn’t just this off season obviously and the addition of Lee wouldn’t have made a large enough impact to crank them all the way up to the top of the list were most people would expect with the huge payroll they sustain. Like I mentioned the “Feesh” are ranked higher, and look at their payroll.

        But then again, I also think the Yanks will sweep in with a big media frenzy enducing trade that involves them acquiring some other teams ace before the TDL. I’m sure you hope I’m right and probably agree.

  5. bigbbfan - Jan 14, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    This deal has the potential to make Cashman look like a genius or a jerk. On the positive side the Yankees should be able to have a truly great closer available everyday regardless of the series rotation or situation. With just one closer a team often cannot use their closer when they need him. This could prove to be very beneficial in key series. When bullpen is well rested it will significantly reuduce the pressure on the stater to go seven innings. If the Yankees score runs like they did last year this may prove to be a good move.

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