The 2012 MLB season is as exciting as ever, but thanks to the media to divert the attention, while at the same time putting Yankee Universe into a tizzy, about something that has nothing to do with it.
So, it came as no surprise when I read, courtesy of CBSSports.com Jon Heyman, that the return of closer Rafael Soriano for 2013 was really in jeopardy.
Heyman’s reported that sources close to Soriano said that at the end of 2012 season, he plans to opt-out of his $14 million player-option, as Soriano hopes of signing a multi-year deal with a team that will use him as a closer.
This is not a new subject but just not one that needed or warranted any discussion until this season is over. But it is what it is and it is out there now so here is my stance.
SORIANO YANKEES HISTORY:
Now, Soriano's success is not random or recently discovered, as he this is his 11th season in the Bigs.
Still, everyone knew that Soriano was a last-ditch, consolation prize courtesy of Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine in attempts to make up for not landing Cliff Lee.
Even GM Brian Cashman made it public knowledge on ESPN New York that he didn't recommend the deal, but he did say that the Yankees were much tougher with Soriano on the team than not.
Should Yankees let Rafael Soriano walk at the end of 2012 season?
And even under such harsh opinions, Soriano said the following on at his Yankees press conference:
"I know that a lot of people will find this strange, but I'm very happy to be close to one of the greatest closers. And hopefully in the future, I will after being a setup man, be a closer, too. I'm going to learn a lot from him."
SORIANO TO CLOSE:
Soriano stepped into the closer role when the great Mariano Rivera went down back in May. It was the cruelest circumstance to have to show your ability, especially in Yankee Universe.
And I can speak for Yankee fans everywhere when I state that without Soriano’s consistency and dominance, the Yankees would not have survived at all this season.
Soriano has made 40 saves in 43 attempts in Mo’s absence, posting a 2.07 ERA, with 68 strikeouts over 61 innings pitched. He has held opposing batters to a .218 batting average, and has allowed just four homers all season—in hitting friendly Yankee Stadium.
Many, including myself arguably think that Soriano has been the team MVP in 2012, even over Derek Jeter and Hiroki Kuroda.
So justifiably, if Soriano doesn’t want to go back to being a set-up man for Mo and you can’t really blame him.
His talent as a savior became so grossly clear the moment he took the mound as the Yankees closer.
Now I adore Mo like everyone else, but the Yankees cannot let Soriano walk at the end of this season.
Other teams will be salivating at the thought of acquiring Soriano’s services long-term, especially with the lack of free agent closers on the upcoming market.
When and if the 40-year-old Rivera comes back, which is the hope, it will be for one season maximum so keeping Soriano is the logical thing to do.
MAKE SIGNING SORIANO A TOP PRIORITY, and I mean at the Cano-Granderson level.
It might cost the Yankees a ton, but it secures a replacement for Mo that has proven worthy; and that is HUGE.
And now can we please get back to September baseball already????!!!!!