Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nationals Sign Soriano

The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign Rafael Soriano to a two year deal worth $28 million. Turns out that turning down the qualifying offer of $13.3 million from the Yankees didn't bite Soriano in the backside after all, as he's not only got a 2nd guaranteed year but a bit more money too.

Personally I'm happy that the Yankees didn't go back on what they've said regarding not bringing back Soriano, as I feel the bullpen looks pretty good without him. And spending that much more money didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, especially when they've had chances to sign other players to fill true holes, but have apparently balked at the asking price.

Since Rafael turned down the Yankees' qualifying offer, and has now signed with another team, the Yanks will receive another draft pick. While the Nationals have to give up the 29th pick in the draft due to this signing, the Yankees will possibly receive the 32nd overall pick.

A Not-So-Boring Offseason

The vast majority of my articles are responses to news, so finding things to talk about lately has been really rough. The latest bit of news regarding the Yankees at MLB Trade Rumors has to do with the Blue Jays signing of 18 year old right hander Denis Villatoro, as the Yankees had looked into Villatoro at one point. Heck, the second bit of news regarding the Yankees has to do with them being cost-conscious, and other teams in the AL East (particularly the Jays) possibly looking to take advantage of that. So it's easy to see why each year the LoHud Yankees Blog runs their Pinch Hitter series, where writers from outside their blog submit articles to be posted there (I wrote something for it last year, and this year Burch has a post that will runner there next month).

This lack of news has really tested my lack of patience. I keep hoping to wake up and see news of a big trade, or even rumors of a big trade possibly happening. Alas... nothing. So what do I do now? Do I rant about the fact Cashman and Co. haven't done anything in a while (again)? That's when it occurred to me that they aren't the problem... I'm the problem. My "what have you done for me lately" attitude, which is shared by many other Yankee fans, has blinded me to the fact that the Yankees have indeed done quite a bit this offseason. It just so happens that those things they did not only happened early in the offseason, but they didn't change the team much at all.

This offseason the Yankees have agreed to spend $92.5 million on eight players. David Aardsma's option was picked up for $500,000, as were Robinson Cano's ($15 million) and Curtis Granderson's ($15 million). The team brought back Hiroki Kuroda for another $15 million, Andy Pettitte for $12 million, Mariano Rivera for $10 million, and Ichiro Suzuki for $13 million (over 2 years). As for new blood there's only one guy... Kevin Youkilis for $12 million. Mind you, that doesn't include a minor league deals for Matt Diaz and Bobby Wilson. So it doesn't sound like a boring offseason at all.

"I'm still bored."

But what about other teams? How much have they spent, and on how many players? Let's take a look at them, starting with the other AL East teams...

Blue Jays - $29 million on 3 players
Orioles - $3 million on 2 players
Rays - $25.8 million on 6 players
Red Sox - $160.45 million on 8 players

Boston is the only team in the AL East that's spent more money than the Yankees, and that includes the $39 million deal for Mike Napoli that isn't even finalized yet. The only free agent signing they've had that's even a bit exciting is for Shane Victorino, which was for 3 years and $39 million. The other $83.45 million was spent on Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, David Ortiz, David Ross, and Koji Uehara.

There are actually only four other teams that have spent more money this offseason than the Yankees...

  • The Angels have spent $164.5 million for 5 players, one of them being Josh Hamilton who signed for $125 million. So without that big signing they've only spent $39.5 million for 4 players.
  • The Tigers have spent $115.5 million, one of them being Anibal Sanchez for $80 million. So without Sanchez Detroit's only spent $35.5 million for 3 players.
  • The Braves have spent $107.55 million, one of them being BJ Upton for $75 million. So without Upton Atlanta's only spent $32.55 million on 5 players.
  • The Dodgers, who now have the largest payroll in Major League Baseball, have spent $172.35 million. That includes signing Zack Greinke for $147 million, leaving only $25.35 million for 2 players.

Finally, if you look at the number of players a team has signed to contracts that include MLB deals, the only team that has more than New York is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies have signed 9 players for a total of $91.05 million, and that includes the $52 million contract they gave to Edwin Jackson.

You see, there's really no reason for Yankee fans such as myself to be up in arms over their team's lack of offseason moves. Even if you're thinking "sure, but I want a big acquisition , you can't overlook the fact that the Yankees picked up options on the best second basemen in the game (Cano) and an outfielder that has hit 84 home runs the past two seasons (Granderson), while re-signing the greatest short-inning reliever of all time (Rivera). And that doesn't touch on Pettitte and Kuroda, who are pretty darn good starting pitchers.

So the next time you're upset that another day has passed without any significant news about the Yankees, remember that this offseason has hardly been "boring". Remember that there are few, if any, teams in the game that wouldn't have loved to have signed Cano, Granderson, Kuroda, and Rivera.