The New York Yankees need some help in the outfield now that Curtis Granderson is out until May with a broken forearm, but taking on one-time Bronx Bombers prospect Alfonso Soriano is not the answer. Speaking to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the 14-year veteran spoke of a potential return to the team that made him a household name.
“I don’t know if they want to call or not, but if they call for me, I’d have to think about it,” said Soriano, who has two years and $36 million remaining on his contract. “I don’t want to take a quick reaction and say yes or say no. I’m 37 years old, so I have to think about first what’s good for me, my team and my family.
Granted, Soriano returning to the Yankees would not necessarily be the worst thing in the world. The man was with New York as a second baseman from 1999-2003 and hit .284 with 98 home runs, 270 RBI and 121 steals over that stretch. He finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2001 and third in MVP voting in 2002 before being sent to the Texas Rangers in the infamous Alex Rodriguez trade in 2004.
Since then, Soriano has become one of the better power-hitting outfielders in baseball. He has seven All-Star appearances to his name and is a .273 career hitter with 372 career homers and 1,035 RBI. His speed is not what it used to be, but his bat has not deserted him.
But the Yankees must not acquire Soriano under any circumstances. Though a good power hitter, he strikes out way too much and has only drawn 454 walks since debuting in 1999.
Money would not be much of an issue, as the Cubs would likely pay a good majority of the $36 million remaining on Soriano's contract, but look at it this way. Soriano is 37, and the Yankees already have an aging roster in desperate need of some youth. Taking into consideration that Soriano has also been injury prone ever since signing his monster deal with Chicago in 2007, and there's another reason that the Yankees should not trade for him.
If a trade does happen, what if Soriano is ineffective or gets hurt? As stacked as the Yankees lineup is, the combination of that and a volatile pitching staff could be enough to get the Yankees off to a slow start that, with the AL East shaping up to be completely up for grabs this season, could doom their 2013 hopes.
That all being said, GM Brian Cashman should flat out take the Chicago Cubs off of speed dial and instead focus on the development of 23-year-old switch-hitting prospect Zoilo Almonte. The talented outfielder hit .277 with 21 homers and 70 RBI for the Double-A Trenton Thunder last season, and he currently has one home run with two RBI in two spring training games.
This young man clearly has a great deal of talent that could mean great things for him on the MLB level, but Yankees management will never have a chance to check him out if a trade for Soriano goes down.
Unless the Steinbrenner family wants to see the team stumble early and risk not making the playoffs, the idea of a trade for Alfonso Soriano should be taken off the table completely.