I would not want to be Brian Cashman. Not at all. He might have one of the five hardest jobs in baseball.
I’m not even talking about the Alex Rodriguez fiasco. There are enough rumors and there is enough rhetoric floating around regarding that. I am just talking about what is happening on the field. We can start a whole website with seemingly hourly updates about Rodriguez.
Even when a decision is finally made and a verdict is reached, there still will be an abundance of variables and speculation.
Instead let’s focus on something that is cut and dry and likely could and will be definitively resolved within the next seven days.
Should the Yankees trade for Alfonso Soriano?
First let’s give some background. Soriano is now 37 years old, and will be a free agent at the end of next season. A season in which he will make $18 million. The Cubs have already dealt Matt Garza and they are still a few years away from contending. So Soriano is a meaningless player to them. Theo Epstein would be better served shedding as much of Soriano’s contract as he can, but more importantly by adding some young players and prospects that can help Chicago contend in the future. So from the Cubs perspective, there is no argument. Trade Soriano.
While Soriano’s production has suffered both from age and lack of offensive talent on the Cubs, he is still a useful player that can be a contributor on a winning team. Last season he hit .262 with 32 home runs and 108 RBI’s. So far this season Soriano is hitting .254 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI’s. Those are some pretty good numbers. And that is production the Yankees certainly need.
It is no secret that this has been a down year for the Yankees. You know things are not going well when Luis Cruz going on the disabled list has an actual impact to the team. Soriano’s home runs and RBI’s would both be second on the team to Robinson Cano. Even the most devoted Yankee fan and astute baseball follower has needed a program to follow along with the players that have taken the field in pinstripes so far in 2013. So, from a purely baseball perspective both for this year and next, it is a no doubter that they Yankees should trade for Soriano.
The fact that the Yankees were 53-47 entering play Wednesday night is a pretty good accomplishment considering the injuries that they have suffered through. That put them seven games back of division leading Boston and in fourth place ahead of only Toronto. However, the Yankees are only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card so the playoffs are certainly within reach.
When it comes time to add players either in free agency or in the trade market, the Yankees generally don’t pay much attention to cost. But this year, really for the first time, they have. Their off season decisions were made with the sole purpose of getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold for next season. The fact that Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson will both be free agents after this season is another pretty important factor.
Even though the Yankees are on paper close to the playoffs, they really are far away. They have been doing it with smoke and mirrors for most of the year and unless C.C. Sabathia rights the ship and finds his groove, they won’t go far in the playoffs if they get there.
Soriano is a good player and can still help the Yankees, so from a baseball standpoint, why not trade for him? But, if trading for him will hinder the Yankees efforts to resign Cano or Granderson due to luxury tax concerns, then it is not worth it. Acquiring Soriano would do more harm than good.
It also must be remembered that the Yankees farm system is not the strongest. If dealing for the outfielder costs them a valuable prospect that they truly feel can help them in the future, then again they should not make the trade.
Cashman must walk a very fine line here. He has to do what he can to get the Yankees into the playoffs, or at least fool their fans into thinking they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Of course on paper they very well could make the playoffs, and I would not count them out, but at the same I don’t think their chances are pretty good.
This is no longer the win at all costs Yankees. For me whether or not they should trade for Soriano comes down how much payroll they will have to absorb and whether or not it will affect their future plans as well as what the cost in players will be. I have a feeling the cost will be too prohibitive for me to say trading for Soriano would be a wise move.