Tag Archives: Soria

Who’s left?

Well, two people I would have been interested in are off the market. Victorino signed with Boston and Soria with Texas.

I was thinking Victorino for the OF (younger than Ichiro, and losing Swisher… 3 GG, speed) and Soria, coming off TJ surgery as a replacement for Soriano.

Now they are not there. Meanwhile the Yanks have needs at RF (Swisher leaving), C (Martin left), 3B (Alex out 1/2 a year, Chavez a F.A.),  DH (Ibanez a F.A.) and possibly SS (will Jeter be ready for the opener after that broken ankle?).

One person out there is Cody Ross. Ross, 32 soon, hit .267-22-81, OPS+113, for Boston this year and his 162 g. ave. for his career is .262-22-83, OPS+ 107. Swisher-like, but not a switch-hitter (he hits righty). He has postseason experience, having been on the 2010 WS Champs, the Giants (and he hit .294-5-10 in that postseason, winning the NLCS MVP). You wonder if he and the Yanks could reach a deal. What’s his a$king price?

But he’d fill just one hole (RF). There are many more holes to fill.

How many holes in the dike must Cashman plug?

More off the board.

So Shane Victorino, who I would have liked for RF (to replace Swisher, and in place of the aging Ichiro) is off the board, having gone to Boston as a free agent.

It does mean that Cody Ross, who hit .267-22-81, OPS+ 113 for Boston last year is available. The righty hitter could be a match for the Yanks for RF now. For his career, the 32 (soon) year old has a 162 g. ave. of .262-22-83, OPS+ 107… numbers similar to Swisher. In the postseason, he’s .294-5-10 in 51 AB. Do the Yanks pursue Ross, now?

I also wanted Joakim Soria, in part to replace Soriano, but Soria is off to Texas.

There isn’t too much more I wanted. Of those out there I was interested in, only Jeff Keppinger makes sense. He would be a better utility man than Nix, and could platoon with Chavez at 3B until A-Rod comes back.

With Jeter’s injury (will he be ready for Opening Day?), Keppinger would be insurance there.

You wonder about Nunez. If they won’t use him in a utility role, is he trade bait?

Ruppert makes HOF, A-Rod to miss 1/2 of 2013

Jacob Ruppert was elected to the Hall of Fame today by the Veterans Committee. The Yanks’ owner in the Ruthian era built the original Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile, GM Brian Cashman will need to do yeoman work to build a team. We already knew that a catcher and RF may need to be found, what with Martin’s departure and Swisher’s probable departure. Throw in DH if they don’t bring back Ibanez.

Now count 3B into the mix.

Alex Rodriguez will need surgery on his other hip (possibly explaining his poor postseason) and will miss half of the 2013 season.

You wonder if his body is breaking down. It sure appears so. Alex will be 38 in July. You also wonder if that steroid abuse while in Texas has anything to do with it.

You also wonder if he’ll even get the 53 HR he needs for 700. (He needs 99 hits for 3000 and 50 RBI for 2000).

Meanwhile, do the Yanks now bring back 35 year old Eric Chavez for 3B? He’s brittle and would need to platoon. But with whom? Where does Eduardo Nunez slot in, especially if Jeter isn’t ready for Opening Day?

The left side of the Yankees’ infield is now a mess. Two aging, injured players.

Do David Adams (26 in May, AA .306-8-48 in 86 games) or Ronnier Mustelier (28, .314-15-69, AA/AAA, 114 games) get a shot? Platoon one or the other with Chavez?

So now Cashman has to deal with a catcher (unless they are going with Cervelli or Romine), 3B (do you bring back Chavez, and who platoons with him?), possibly a SS if Jeter isn’t ready, a DH (do you bring back Ibanez?) and a RF (do you bring back Ichiro?) Do you sign someone like Cody Ross, Shane Victorino or Ichiro for RF? Trade for a Justin Upton or Mike Cuddyer? Give Melky Mesa a shot at a platoon role? Trade for a catcher? What about DH? Utility infielder?

Position-wise, there are some four positions there where things are a mess.

Cashman has some work to do.

Forget Mike Napoli at C (the Yanks never had interest). The power hitting, but weak defense C signed a 3-yr. deal w/Boston—-to play 1B.

I was kind of hoping that the Yanks would take a flyer on Joakim Soria, thinking that Soria, coming off TJ surgery, might be worth a shot to replace the expected-to-depart Rafael Soriano. Instead, Soria signed with Texas.

Who should the Yanks target?

Now that the Yanks brought back Kuroda, and know that Mo is coming back, who should they target?

We don’t know about Andy Pettitte yet, and rumors are that they are interested in bringing back Ibanez.

There’s one problem with all that, and I’ve mentioned it a lot. Kuroda is 38 next year, Mo 43, Pettitte and Ibanez turn 41 next June.

I won’t go into Chavez (35), Andruw Jones (35), Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano or Nick Swisher here. Chavez may be back, I don’t want Jones. Martin could be back, and I hope so. Despite the poor .211 batting average, he did have 21 HR, handled the staff well, was good defensively, and let’s face it, Romine isn’t ready. Cervelli isn’t a starting catcher. Sanchez is a few years away. Stewart is a nice backup who can’t hit. Martin is still the best option for catcher for the Yanks next year.

I expect Soriano and Swisher to be gone.

We know that Jeter (39 in June) and A-Rod (38 in July) are coming back. There is an age issue.

We also know that the Yanks are watching their pennies much more than when the Boss was alive.

So who among the top free agents out there would fit the Yanks’ needs?

Here’s who I would target. You can offer your own opinions, and I’d be glad to hear them.

1) Shane Victorino.  Victorino will be 32, seven years younger than Ichiro (39). I like Ichiro, but see the age issue I mentioned above. I don’t want to see the Yanks with 1/3 of the 25 man roster 35 years old or older. Ichiro has 10 Gold Gloves in his career, Victorino three. You could move Granderson and his bad routes to the short RF at the Stadium, move Gardner to CF and play Victorino in LF. The switch-hitting Victorino could bat second and along with Gardner’s comeback, give the Yanks the speed they lacked last year. He had an off-year in 2012 (.255-11-55, 39 SB, OPS+ 91) but has a 162 g. average of .275-14-62, 30 sb, OPS+ 102. He also has postseason experience, a plus in NY.  You’d have a speedy OF. Of course, you’d have to get Granderson stealing bases again and not just hitting HR (you’d also have to get Curtis to get the batting average up and cut down on the strikeouts).

2) Joakim Soria. He missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. The Yanks are taking a flyer with David Aardsma, who’ll be 31 next year, why not Soria? Aardsma missed all of 2011, and only pitched in one game for the Yanks in 2012 (1 IP, walk, K, solo HR). Soria will be just 29 next spring and has expressed the desire to set up for Mo. He could come cheaply, loaded with incentives. His 162 g. average is 3-3, 2.40, 37 saves, ERA+ 181. If he can come back to a semblance of his old self, the Yanks won’t miss Soriano. Not only that, if he is back to his old self and Mo falters, he is a fallback. Him, Robertson, Mo and Joba could be formidable.

3) Jeff Keppinger. The Yanks have been interested in him in the past. If there are concerns over Jeter being ready on opening day or Nunez playing SS (with his shaky defense) while Jeter gets ready, Keppinger could be a fill-in. He can play 2B, SS, and 3B, and (no offense to Nix), would be an upgrade over Jayson Nix. Keppinger hit .325 last year, (.325-9-40, 127 OPS+) and is a .288 career hitter, (162 g. average .288-9-59, OPS+ 97).

4) Stephen Drew. A lefty hitting SS who had a rough year. .223-7-28, OPS+ 79 this year. Once again an option if Jeter isn’t ready. But despite a lefty bat that the Stadium may help, he doesn’t offer the versatility of Keppinger. 30 next year, his 162 g. average is .265-15-70, OPS+ 96. I rate Keppinger higher because of his versatility, esp. with the age issues of Jeter and A-Rod.

I don’t see the Yanks making a big splash. So forget B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, Dan Haren, etc.

I was looking for guys still in their prime. I also wasn’t looking at guys like Chavez, Ibanez, Pettitte and Martin who could be returning who were with the team last year.

One person I’ve heard that the Yanks should trade for is Shin-Soo Choo of Cleveland. I’m on board with that. He’s 30 (another in their prime player), who could replace the (probably) departing Swisher. Choo, a lefty hitter, hit .283-16-67, 21 SB, OPS+ 131 this past season. He provides some much needed speed. His 162 g. average is .289-19-86, 20 SB and an OPS+ of 132.

If they could sign Victorino and trade for Choo, it means Jones and Ibanez are gone, and they get younger and faster. I am all for that.

As mentioned, I’m looking for guys affordable (which guys like Soria, coming off injury and probably amenable to an incentive-laden contract are), who would fit needs, and who are IN THEIR PRIME.

The team needs to get younger.