26 Jul 2013
There is a nice symmetry to Alfonso Soriano returning to the Yankees at this moment. After all, he was the key piece the Yankees traded to Texas back in 2004 for Alex Rodriguez. And despite all of the crap the Yankees have endured since that trade, it was a wonderful move. Let’s look back at it.
The Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias for A-Rod. Since that trade happened, A-Rod has produced 49 WAR. Soriano has priduced a 29.1 WAR and Arias has produced a 0.5 WAR. Sure, up until this point, the Yankees have paid about $80-million more for A-Rod than Soriano and Arias have earned, but $4 million per WAR is a below the 2012 average of $6.3 million. Plus, like it or not, the 2009 title doesn’t happen without A-Rod.
So, the 2004 trade that sent Soriano away was a good one. How does the 2013 trade to bring him back look? Well let’s start with the obvious- they needed to get a righty bat. Here are two stunning stats. Soriano has out-homered the entire Yankee team since the start of July and he has 10 home runs since the Yankees last had a righty hit a homer.
According to various sources the Yankees are giving up Corey Black, and paying a prorated $5-million salary this year and $5-million next year. Black is an interesting prospect. He throws close to 100-mph, but he is wild. He is only in A-ball so he has a way to go, but he could definitely come back to haunt the Yankees in a few years. The money isn’t much, though it is interesting that the Yankees are going to pay $5-million to Soriano next year instead of paying more this year. Overall, I think it is a good risk for a team trying to win. This is not Jay Buhner to the Mariners, it is a gamble that a 22-year old in A-ball won’t develop. That’s usually a smart bet.
The question that remains is how will the Yankees use Soriano? The smart play would be to DH full time and cut Hafner. Hafner hasn’t hit since April and his OPS has gone down each month. In July he has put up a line of .154/.241/.212. The Yankees can play Wells in LF against LHP and Mesa against RHP. When Granderson is healthy, he plays there everyday.