Wednesday, February 15, 2012


After losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes last winter, Randy Levine stepped in and signed Rafael Soriano to a 3-year, $35 million deal. He was set to be the highest paid setup man in the game of baseball, but unfortunately for him he’s now the highest paid 7th inning man in the game of baseball. It was certainly a rough first year for Soriano, thus the spotlight will certainly be brighter on him in his second year in Pinstripes.

Soriano’s first season as a Yankee got off on the wrong foot from the get-go, with Brian Cashman admitting at Soriano’s introductory press conference that he didn’t want to sign him. At that point, I knew it’d be a rocky season for him. Then, in his third career outing as a Yankee on April 5 at the Stadium against the Twins, Soriano promptly blew a four run lead, allowing the Twins to tie it and eventually win it in extra innings. Finally, in the middle of May, Soriano suffered an elbow injury that sidelined him until July 30. During that time he may have learned something. He may have learned to check his ego at the door, and to set aside his personal goals for the benefit of the team. Fortunately, that may have helped because he came back strong. Take a look…

July 30-Sept 27: 26 games, 24.1 IP, 3.33 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 26/7 K/BB

Not too bad for the much maligned reliever. He was able to successfully pitch through some high leverage situations in that span too. He pitched very well overall in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, allowing just one run in 4.2 innings pitched. Unfortunately, that one run allowed was a homer to Delmon Young in Game 3 of the ALDS which ended up being the winning run for the Tigers.

There’s no doubt that Soriano will need to step up big in 2012. But, if he can continue his nice run he started from the end of July, he should be in great shape. He’s 32 years old, so it’s likely he’s getting towards the end of his prime years, but I believe he’s got enough in the tank. The guy has the ability, and we’ve seen positive results. Unlike AJ Burnett, I have full faith in this guy. Here’s to Soriano having a bounce back 2012.

--Jesse Schindler, BYB Staff Writer

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