The recent revelation that Yankees’ CF Curtis Granderson (.232, 43 HR, 106 RBI, 102 R, 195 SO) will be out for 10-12 weeks with a broken hand has led to speculation that the Chicago Cubs could be part of the solution. The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano played for the Yanks from 99-03 during which he was part of two World Series championships. In 2001 the Yanks lost a dramatic seven-game series with the Diamondbacks in which Soriano hit a seemingly clinching solo home run off of Curt Schilling, but the Yanks would lose in the bottom half of the 9th. During the winter of 03-04, Soriano was traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez in one of the biggest trades in baseball history.
The mere thought of Soriano being shipped out of town to the Yankees must give Theo Epstein goose bumps. Soriano is “37” years old and still has 2 years left on the 8-year/$136 million deal he signed in 2006. Theo has to be thinking it is a blessing in disguise for Granderson to go down in spring training. The Yankees also lost Nick Swisher in the offseason to the Indians and that leaves the Yanks thin in the outfield. Soriano had a pretty decent season on an awful team, his numbers (.262, 32 HR, 108 RBI, 68 R, 153 SO) were not that far off from Granderson. Soriano had a lot less strikeouts – while not nearly having the offense around him that Granderson enjoyed – which is reflected in the runs Soriano scored. The problem isn’t Soriano’s offensive contribution but his far (far) weaker defensive attributes that suggest he might be one of the worst outfielders in baseball.
The Yankees would need to think long and hard about replacing a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder who also added some offensive punch with a player who was a liability in a small outfield on the north side. The money isn’t an issue for New York’s cash printing machine, but the Yankees might better need to replace a multi-tool player with someone of equal value. While Soriano is hardly that, Theo might be motivated to at least give it a shot.