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New York Yankees: Why the Yankees Will Be Fine Without Rafael Soriano

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16:  Rafael Soriano #29 of the New York Yankees pitches during the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers on April 16, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rangers 5-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Teresa RocaCorrespondent IIMay 26, 2011

When Rafael Soriano signed a $35 million contract with the New York Yankees in January, the Yankees were desperate for a consistent and reliable pitcher to join their starting rotation.

Unfortunately, unable to accomplish that feat, the Yankees instead resorted to having a top-notch bullpen.

Acquiring Soriano seemed like the perfect remedy at the time. After all, he does have experience pitching in the AL, when he pitched for the Seattle Mariners from 2002 to 2006, posting a phenomenal 1.53 ERA in 2003. As well, he even ended his 2010 season with the Tampa Bay Rays with a 1.73 ERA, leading the MLB with 45 saved games.

With Soriano as a setup man to help end games quicker, he seemed like the perfect contribution to the team at the time, reminding us of an earlier and successful duo, John Wetteland and Mariano Rivera, who brought the Yankees to their 1996 World Series win.

Although Soriano’s experience in big moments and ability to one day take over Rivera’s closer position made him seem like the perfect player to sign, the Yankees were wrong.

In only 15 innings pitched, Soriano has recorded a 5.40 ERA, allowing 15 hits, nine runs and one home run with only 10 strikeouts.

Receiving Tommy John surgery in 2004 and another in 2008, Soriano’s elbow troubles are back to haunt him, as soreness in his elbow may force the reliever to have season-ending surgery.

So, who will aid Rivera until Soriano returns?

After a slow start this season, Joba Chamberlain has suddenly managed to turn things around. Recording a 3.33 ERA so far, Chamberlain has allowed 19 hits, 10 runs and three home runs and has struck out 20 hitters in 24.1 innings pitched.

David Robertson has been showing promise as well. In 19 innings pitched, Robertson has recorded a remarkable 1.42 ERA, allowing only 15 hits, four runs and no home runs and striking out 30 hitters.

Another two relievers who will be on the mound more are Luis Ayala and Hector Noesi. Ayala has pitched in 12 innings this season, posting a 1.50 ERA and allowing 14 hits and only two runs. In Noesi’s major-league debut with the Yankees against Baltimore, he struck out four hitters, and he has a season ERA of 1.29.

With Rivera closing games and these four relievers pitching well at the moment, the Yankees will be fine without Soriano.

Let's just hope they each remain consistent, dominant and healthy.

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