Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change of Heart? Yankees Talking to Soriano

You knew that after losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, there would be many rumblings connecting the Yankees to the more viable pitchers left available, both starters and relievers. For weeks now, there has been talk of the Yankees possibly acquiring former Rays closer Rafael Soriano as the setup man for Mariano Rivera. The Yankees, however had maintained their position that they will not pay would-be relievers closer-type money which is what Soriano and his agent, Scott Boras, are looking for. They also said that they were not interested in the closer. Now, with Andy Pettitte still undecided about his return, the Yankees may be reconsidering their position.

Earlier, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees are now talking to Rafael Soriano. This comes as multiple reports say that Soriano has expressed willingness to take the setup role. Furthermore, Boras made it clear that if Soriano were to take a setup role, it would be with the Yankees.

"I don't think there is a team in baseball where he could be asked to be a setup guy other than the Yankees," Boras told ESPN NY.

Acquiring Soriano would be a plus-plus in my opinion. Statistically, he was the best closer in baseball last year, saving 45 games in 48 chances; it wouldn't be difficult for him to transfer his success into a setup role. With Mariano possibly retiring after 2012, Soriano could become the closer, and he'll only be 33 years old. And, Soriano is just that good that if the Yankees are leading a game into the 8th inning, it could be over for the opposing team even before facing Mariano in the 9th.

My opinions aside, I can understand the Yankees hesitation in acquiring Soriano as they may want to keep as much money left in their arsenal for a possible starting pitcher trade mid-season, but with $170 million free, I don't see why they can't do both. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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