Rafael Soriano: couldn't hurt to make him an offer, could it?

I've been reading that if Andy Pettitte does not come back, the Yankees will look to Soriano to form a formidible bullpen and thought: "Why dont we do that?". Funnily enough our rotation looks so much better than the Yankees at this point, but why not go the whole hog and make the bullpen an outright force too?

Soriano-Bailey-Wuertz-Breslow-Ziegler-Blevins with the loser of the Harden/McCarthy sweepstakes looks like one of the best in baseball. Thats an unscorable 8th+9th plus a bunch of guys who arent going to implode if the SP doesnt go 7.

A great point made on this site was that we did not need power hitters we just needed "good" ones. The same could be said about relievers. Soriano is the best available, so why not make a run at him?


-Having Bailey and Soriano means never having to go a day without a legitimate closer available. Who says a team only needs one closer?

-Bailey's injury history so early in his career means we do not necessarily have to use him as a setup guy. He can do anything. If it means closing the night after a Soriano save, that works. If it means setting Soriano up with a lights out 8th, that works too. We have four years of cost-controlled Bailey, we can do what we want with him and Im sure he'd have no ego issues by being the "secondary" closer, as long as we win.

-I'm not sure if this goes into pro or con, but Soriano became a much different pitcher last year. Is this what people mean when they say "pitching to the defense"? In Atlanta, he was a K-monster (12.13 K/9) with a meh walk rate (3.21 BB/9). But Atlanta had a pretty bad defense in 2009, when he flipped over to the Rays, he went into challenge mode, which saw a substantial drop in both (8.23/2.02), as Tampa Bay has one of the best defensive teams in the game (as do we). Did he know this and did was it the source of his further success? It looks like it, but I'm all ears for other explanations, at least its good to know he knows exactly when he challenge hitters. Before 2010 his InZone percentage since 2002 was 54.2. Hitters struggled to do much with those pitches over the plate, as Soriano had the second-lowest percentage of in-zone contact among relievers. As Bailey took home first place, this could spell disaster for teams looking to score against us in the later innings.


-There's only 1, really: $$$. Soriano would be here now if he didn't save 45 games last year. Sadly, that stat means he is going to get paid big money. Now, we do have money to spend and money coming off the books next year, but paying something like $7 or 8 million a year for 3 years isn't Billy's normal M.O. when dealing with relievers. I'm not sure what an adequate comp is either, its not Mariano's 2/30, is it Valverde's 2/14? Lets just say 3/21 gets him for sure.

-There is a chance we would be bidding against the Yankees, making this a non-issue, but if we pressed Soriano now, he may bite. As strange as it sounds, we have a much better chance at making the playoffs than the Yankees do at this point (their pitching staff is the worst its been in many years), so maybe Soriano will ride the Cliff Lee wave and go to a team he knows can succeed over the biggest dollar payout.

-Yeah, Soriano got lucky last year with a .212 BABIP, but with our shiny defense, he could expect a similar result. Even if he doesn't, look back to 2009 with the Braves when he had a .297 BABIP, yup, still had a good year. Plus as mentioned above, he is wily and can challenge hitters or try and paint corners.

-Allotting money to a closer isn't usually smart baseball, but that's for teams who have reached their payroll ceiling. We have not and even with this move, have plenty of cash to make a run at Jose Bautista, JD Drew or re-up Willingham or DeJesus next year, and outside of dramatic, code red falloffs (Kouzmanoff?) I like this idea. Do you?

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