Derek Jeter may not be the only New York Yankees player riding off into the sunset following the 2014 campaign.
38-year-old Alfonso Soriano told George A. King III of The New York Post that "It depends on how I feel" when deciding on whether or not to play beyond the 2014 season: "If I am healthy I will play [in 2015]. If not, I will let it go. It depends how I feel."
Soriano is without a clear-cut role on the 2014 Yankees following the signings of both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Soriano was originally slated to play left field, but the Ellsbury signing bumped Brett Gardner to the position. This opened right field for him, but the Beltran signing put those talks to bed.
There will likely be a scenario where Soriano and Beltran switch between right field and designated hitter, though Jeter will also need at-bats at DH this season to keep his legs fresh.
Soriano has been a DH just 35 times in his career, and he acknowledged to King that it would be a bit of an adjustment to take regular at-bats there: "If I am the DH I will have to make adjustments. When the team is playing defense I will have to find a way to keep my body warm and ready."
In his time as a DH, Soriano has hit .289/.315/.587 with nine home runs and 27 RBI.
Prior to signing Brian Roberts, there were even some rumors about Soriano switching back to second base. That never really got any traction from the start, as he wasn't even a great fielder there when he played the position regularly, which last happened in 2005 with the Texas Rangers.
Being almost 10 years removed from the position would not have been good for either Soriano or the Yankees.
Soriano has spent two stints with the Yankees over his 15-year career. The first came from 1999-2003, and Soriano was one of the most dynamic leadoff men in baseball during that time. He was one home run shy of the 40-40 club in 2002, though he was a member of the 30-30 club in both 2002 and 2003 (as well as in 2005 with the Rangers and 2006 with the Nationals).
Players in #MLB history with multiple 40+ double, 30+ homer, 20+ steal seasons: Alfonso Soriano (3), Bobby Abreu (2), & Jeff Bagwell (2).— MLB Play Index (@BRefPlayIndex) February 18, 2014
He then spent the following seasons playing for the Rangers, Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs until being dealt back to the Yankees in the middle of the 2013 season. Not a whole lot was expected of Soriano when he was reacquired, but he was a force in the middle of the lineup.
In just 58 games, Soriano blasted 17 home runs and drove in 50. He hit .256/.325/.525, a big improvement over the .254/.287/.467 line he had posted in 93 games prior with the Cubs.
Should Soriano retire, he will certainly have his own niche in Yankees history. He will join Robinson Cano, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Gordon and Willie Randolph as one of the best second basemen in team history.
Soriano isn't done just yet, though. He's still an important part of the Yankees' plans for 2014. As the possible No. 6 man in the lineup, Soriano will be asked to do his fair share of run-producing.
If he performs anywhere near last season, then Soriano will probably be going out at the top of his game.
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