(Gone. Courtesy of the AP)
There was an understandable amount of negative responses to the Yankees' lone trade deadline move of acquiring Alfonso Soriano. He was another player in his late 30s whose game had devolved to platoon bat status, he represented more committed money and roster space to the 2014 plans, and the Yankees gave up a useful prospect arm to get him. They were desperate for right-handed power at the time though, and Soriano does have that in spades. As a move to address an immediate and glaring weakness, it was the right move to make, 2014 concerns aside. With what he's done in his first 3 weeks back in pinstripes, Soriano has given the Yankees everything they needed and then some.
After last night's big game-winning home run, Soriano sports a .284/.327/.589 batting line in 101 plate appearances as a Yankee. He's hit 9 home runs, driven in 28 runs, and scored 20 in 24 games as the part-time DH/part-time left fielder, and his white hot week last week helped drive this current 9-2 resurgence that's slowly bringing the Yankees back to postseason contention life. He's brought excitement and energy back to the clubhouse and to the stands, and it's been fun from a fan perspective to watch the guy traded for A-Rod return along with A-Rod to mash in a Yankee uniform again.
Soriano is still not without his warts. He doesn't walk much, he strikes out too much, and even if the advanced metrics portray him as a plus defender, he doesn't always pass the eye test when it comes to tracking and chasing down balls in the outfield. But we and the Yankees knew all this before the trade was made. None of that comes as a surprise and none of it has been detrimental to his value since he came over. Soriano's 1.3 fWAR in just 24 games has him ranked 4th on the team for the season, just fractions behind Ichiro for 3rd. He's done enough in this first sample size to inspire hope that he can continue to be productive next season, at least more productive than guys like Ichiro, Wells, and Hafner were this season.
It's hard to be unhappy about anything that Soriano has done since being re-acquired. He looks like he has plenty left in his bat, he's at least serviceable in the outfield, he's hit some BIG home runs, and he's brought life and enthusiasm back to Yankee games. Here's hoping that dinger was the start of him shaking off this week's slump and a sign of more good things to come.