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Joakim Soria should be a Yankees winter target

Could Joakim Soria be a missing piece in the Yankees bullpen?

Last week, ESPN reported that Joakim Soria was interested in signing with the Yankees–but not to be a closer. Instead he wanted to sign so he could set up for none other than Mariano Rivera who is returning for what many predict to be his final season in Yankee pinstripes. When it was announced Soria wanted to join the Yankees, there were some health concerns that everyone worried about, strictly the 2 Tommy John Surgeries he’s had in the last couple of years. Other than that, I believe that if the price is right the Yankees should go after Soria and make a deal.

Soria hasn’t played baseball since 2011 since he was out all year with TJ surgery in 2012, but if you look back at the five years he’s been in the Majors, his numbers aren’t bad. In 2007 at the ripe age of 23 years old he went 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA and had 17 saves in 62 saves. Keep in mind, the Royals don’t have a lot of save opportunities. Soria’s most impressive years were in 2008 and in 2010. In 2008, Soria had a 1.60 ERA with 42 saves under his belt. In 2010, he had a 1.78 ERA with 43 saves. He won an All-Star apperance, voted 10th in the Cy Young award and voted 19th in the MVP award.

Now, the reasons that the Yankees should be interested in Soria. One reason, he’s 28 years old. If the Yankees are going to sign someone, it has to be someone that is young and not in their mid to late thirties to early forties no offense any pitcher in the Yankees bullpen/rotation that’s 36 and over). Second of all, as a just in case measure if Mariano Rivera isn’t pitching like Mariano Rivera (which there is a small chance of happening), you’ll have Soria ready to pitch in the closer role, but don’t expect the Yankees to give up on Mo so easily.

There was one thing that I don’t agree with when it comes to what Soria is wanting–he wants to be in the 8th inning role, a role that is currently occupied by David Robertson. What could happen is that Soria could be used in the bullpen in the earlier innings and the 8th inning role could be Robertson’s to lose.  The Yankees have an option for the bullpen, especially since Rafael Soriano flew the coop so even though the Tommy John is a slight risk, I think that Soria could work out for the team. May I emphasize one more time Cashman, that Soria is young which is something that we are looking for.

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Joakim Soria reportedly interested in Yankees

According to a report from ESPN, free agent pitcher Joakim Soria is interested in pitching for the Yankees–but not as the closer. He instead would like to be the set-up man to 42 year-old closer Mariano Rivera. Soria’s agent Oscar Suarez confirms Soria’s interest.

“If the Yankees call, we’ll be all ears.” Suarez said in an ESPN phone interview on Monday. “If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there.”

However, Soria won’t be able to pitch until May of the 2013 season while other reports say he won’t be ready until June. Rivera has always spoken highly of Soria and most likely would love to tutor the young pitcher.

“Joakim’s not a greedy individual.” Suarez added. “He wants to win so if it’s the right situation he’s probably not going to be a guy to wait until February.”

Soria at one point had the Yankees on his no-trade clause with his past contract in Kansas City but it wasn’t due to him not wanting to pitch in the Bronx. It was more strategic reasons. Soria seems optimistic about wanting to join the Yankees. Why don’t the Yankees return the favor and give him a call. You never can have too much pitching.

NYY vs. OAK – 7/22/11

Lineup:

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Granderson CF
Teixeira DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Posada 1B
Nunez 3B
Cervelli C

Pitchers:

Phil Hughes (1-2, 8.44) vs. Trevor Cahill (8-8, 3.16)

Some rumor notes:

  • The Yanks have reportedly checked in on Joakim Soria, the Royals closer. Can’t imagine it being anything more than due dilligence, as it wouldn’t make sense to give up a top prospect (or two) for an extra closer.
  • This isn’t a very surprising piece, but Jon Heyman says the Yankees are looking for a starting pitcher, a left-handed relief pitcher, and a right-handed bat. Looks like the Marcus Thames signing is that right-handed bat.
  • According to Buster Olney, the Yankees have asked the Rays about James Shields’ availability, and the Rays said no. This is at least for the Rays’ division rivals: Boston and New York. Mike Axisa of RAB wrote a very detailed profile on James Shields and whether or not he’d be a fit.

Enjoy the game. And don’t forget, if you didn’t check out Ricky’s series preview podcast, here it is: Athletics-Yankees Podcast Preview

UPDATE:

  1. Joe Girardi said that it is “definitely possible” that Eric Chavez and Rafael Soriano return during this 10-game homestand.
  2. Lineup is posted.
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