PLEASE NOTE: Even though it carries my byline, this piece is from Matt, who was able to jot some thoughts down while traveling but couldn't log on and asked me to post this for him. Thanks.
Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ve probably heard by now about the Yankees' latest acquisition, Rafael Soriano. Many of you have probably already made your requisite visit to RAB and had your nerves partially pacified by Joe P’s article. You may have then trekked over to TYU to digest Steve S’s rationalization of losing a first round draft pick. That’s at least what I did. Anyway, at this point, I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time dissecting Soriano the player, here. Suffice it to say he’s very good at what he does when he’s healthy. Rather, I’m going to take few minutes to vent out my initial thoughts on what this move should signal to us as fans.
First, never believe Brian Cashman. Stop; just don’t do it. His ninja skills have been well-documented by this point (i.e., “Bubba Crosby is our starting outfielder;” the notion of Mark Teixeira joining the Yankees should reside in “fantasy land;” and most recently, “no first round draft picks for a reliever”). He’s also told us that Joba Chamberlain will permanently remain in the pen going forward and that Sergio Mitre along with Ivan Nova will fill out the back of the rotation in 2011. While these subsequent points haven’t been disproved, we have to suspect that some (if not all) are likely to change. Now, don’t get me wrong. Brian Cashman owes us (as fans) absolutely nothing in terms of vocalizing his intentions. He is in no way obligated to divulge organizational strategy to public scrutiny. So, the moral of the story is simple: remain skeptical of Cashman’s statements until evidence proves otherwise.
Second, the Yankees conception of “frugal spending” should continue to be taken with a massive grain of salt. Yes, there are some distorted/hazy/undefined/flexible/blurred guidelines of the allocated spending that one in accounting might refer to as a budget. However, as we’ve seen, that too is only as definitive as the moment allows. When the Yankees want to spend, they do. It’s that simple. They were willing to spend ample amounts of cash on Cliff Lee, and have since surrendered an excess of dollars on a reliever. While the Yankees are still operating under their 2010 salary mark, one needn’t grasp far for reason to assume 2012 and 2013 could easily warrant a bump in payroll if the right opportunity is presented. Some might claim Teixeira to be a “special circumstance.” I say special circumstances are capable of happening in New York anytime there is compelling rationale. Basically, let me sum up my second point with this: The Yankees just shelled out a three-year, $35M dollar pact to a the type of player categorized as much by his value as he is by volatility.
Third, I want to see Joba Chamberlain traded. I really don’t care for the most part where he is sent either. I’m still working under the assumption that he won’t be shifted to the starting rotation at this point (which I realize is ironic given that it directly contradicts my former point about not accepting Cashman’s statements at face value). As he will not be able to contribute to the starting rotation or to the bullpen in any real meaningful way given the blatant disregard of his skill set, his value is now almost completely diminished in my eyes. Let the kid revamp his career elsewhere rather than slowly deteriorating in low-leverage slots of the bullpen. I’m sure there are plenty of teams out there that would just love a semi-expensive, arbitration-eligible, possibly-injury-prone, stat-inflated-despite-deceptively-good-peripherals, once-heralded pitching prospect.
So there’s my rant, ravings, two cents, or whatever you want to call it. Feel free to leave your gripes or praise as you see fit.