Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On Taking Back Rafael Soriano

 (I wonder if he untucks after every failed contract pitch by Boras.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

As reader Ruben wisely put it on the AB4AR Facebook Page last night, we probably shouldn't feel this good about Scott Boras making a mistake.  But it certainly appears that he has according to this tweet from Bob Klapisch yesterday afternoon.  Klapisch reported that Boras reached out to the Yankees to ask if they'd be interested in bringing Rafael Soriano back on a 1-year deal and that the request was "flatly denied" by the Yankees, keeping a long and painfully slow offseason for Soriano going.

You'll remember that Soriano (and Boras) turned down a $14 million option for this season to test the FA waters after Soriano's great 2012 filling in for Mo, then turned down the $13.3 million qualifying offer the Yankees made.  Now, 2+ months into the offseason with no potential suitors and next to no chatter about him, Soriano and Boras appear to have retraced their steps back to the beginning of their screw-up.  Cash stated before this story came out that he is not looking for more bullpen help, nor should he be, but Boras' request raises an interesting question.  If the market continues to be quiet for Soriano, and his asking price continues to come down, at what point would you make a 1-year offer to him and bring him back for 2013?

The consensus among readers last night was 1 year/$4 million and they'd be interested, and to be honest, that's exactly what I'd say.  If Soriano (and Boras) are willing to accept that below-market value offer, with no additional player options or performance bonuses, I would be OK with re-signing him.  That being said, I don't think this is an option the Yankees need to actively pursue, what with their bullpen already being well-stocked and Cash on the record as not being in the market for more relief help.  Boras already came crawling back to them once; no reason to think he won't try again.

With the cheap way they are going about filling the roster right now, $4 mil would be a good amount to pay for another year of Mo insurance, even if it pushes D-Rob back down the ladder a rung on his quest to be Mo's heir in 2014.  It would also leave Cash with enough spending money to bring in a few more right-handed bats, and give the Yankees added insurance to cover this season's rotation.

Where they would get intro trouble is with the 40-man roster.  They're already packed to the gills there, and after having to DFA Chris Dickerson to clear a spot for Russ Canzler they are to the point where they would have to start cutting guys who could potentially be useful.  Because of the high number of middle-level prospects on the 40-man, the Yankees are very low on wiggle room and might not want to give it up to add a luxury bullpen arm.  They would also lose the supplemental 1st-round pick they stand to gain if/when another team signs Soriano, and the draft pool money that comes with it, and that's more than likely not something Cash wants to lose with the semi-rebuilding effort that may be upcoming.

What they could do if they hypothetically signed Soriano was use that as a catalyst to make a trade.  Guys like David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Boone Logan, and Chase Whitley become expendable if Soriano is added to the mix, so if Cash was still entertaining the idea of swinging a trade for an impact player, or more of an impact player than the type he's been signing lately, he would have more to dangle with Soriano back in his 'pen.

When it comes to Soriano, it's not a matter of worrying about production.  We all know what he can do and we saw it firsthand in 2012, same as Cash and the rest of the Yankee braintrust did.  It's a matter of need vs. want, and right now the Yankees have no need and apparently no want for Soriano's services while Soriano and Boras are getting more desperate in their desire and need to sign with a team.  They both screwed up by turning the Yankees' offers down and now they're paying the price.  No need for the Yankees to throw them a life boat right now.

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