Friday, April 20, 2012

Trade Rafael Soriano?

"Trade Soriano to the Giants!"

Those that thought the Yankees could get something out of trading AJ Burnett are now back, only this time they are inserting Rafael Soriano's name into the discussion.

While it's true that Rafael could in theory be traded, as his deal with the Yankees does not include a no-trade clause, the combination of having 1 year for $14 million remaining on his contract, and a 3.86 ERA for the Yankees the past 1+ seasons, means the Yankees would get less than Diego Moreno and Exicardo Cayones in return (the Yanks haul from Pittsburgh in the Burnett swap).

 Although Burnett was struggling more as a starter, than Soriano is as a reliever, Rafael would still return less. Especially to a team like the Pirates, a guy being able to eat 190 innings is valuable. It would be different if Pittsburgh was looking to compete within the next year or two, and would therefore want a guy that could not only eat innings but do so effectively, but that was not the case. On the other hand, a reliever only carries great value if he can close out games effectively ("great value" as in being worth $14 million). There's no reason for the Giants, or anybody else, to pay Rafael that much money while he carries any questions on whether he can close games. If you take a look at the 2011 season, you'll see that not one closer with at least 23 saves had a lower ERA than Soriano's 4.12.

 Either way, the Yankees are going to have to pay Soriano all or a good chunk of his contract. So unless the return is a good one, then there's really no point in exploring a trade. Just like I said about AJ Burnett, regarding his ability to eat a lot of innings (that was said before they dealt for Pineda and signed Kuroda), Soriano has value to the team out of the bullpen. Sure, he's not the shut-down reliever that David Robertson is, but what team has a 7th inning reliever as good as Rafael? There's a chance that Soriano could build off of what he's done so far this season, as he currently has a 1.80 ERA. The WHIP is a sky-high 2.40, but his BABIP against is an astronomical .429. With a BABIP coming back down to Earth, and getting is BB rate down to his career average of 2.9/9IP, then we could have a strong set-up man or good closer next season. That potential is greater than any return the Yankees could get in dealing the guy.

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