Monday, June 23, 2014

What Is Soriano's Role Now?

It's been a little over a week since Alfonso Soriano was removed from an everyday role in the lineup.  An 0-4 day against Oakland on June 14th bottomed his season slash line out at .224/.249/.388 and since then Soriano has gotten 6 plate appearances in the last 7 games.  3 of those 6 PA have come as a pinch hitter, 3 came in the lone start he got against Mark Buehrle last Wednesday, and in the other 3 games Soriano stayed glued to the bench.

Going back to the start of the month, when Soriano's slump was at its worst and his playing time started to decrease, he has now not played in the same number of games that he has played (10).  His production in June (.214/.214/.286, 12 K in 28 PA) is as unproductive as it's been all year, which raises the question of what, exactly, is Soriano's role at this point?  He's the de facto 4th outfielder with Ichiro starting and Beltran DH'ing, but Joe is never going to use him for defensive purposes.  And even though he does have 3 hits in his 6 PA since 6/14, all 3 of them have been singles, so he's not exactly filling the role of late-game masher option off the bench.

Soriano serves almost no purpose to Joe and the team right now with what he's contributing.  If and when Beltran is able to return to the field and get back in the outfield rotation, Soriano's usefulness will shrink even more.  He's been almost completely phased out as it is, and it may only be a matter of time before he's removed from the active roster completely.

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