The New York Yankees know that they need at least one more right handed bat in their lineup entering the 2013 MLB season, having an all southpaw hitting outfield as of right now, featuring Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Manager Joe Girardi loves to alternate righties and lefties throughout the order, but as of now, he is lacking enough right handed bats, especially ones who can provide some pop.
That is why the Yankees should place a phone call to the Chicago Cubs about bringing Alfonso Soriano back to New York.
Yes, Soriano is still owed $36 million over the next two years. Those are astronomical numbers for a soon-to-be 37-year-old slugger whose best years may be well in the rearview mirror. Still, Soriano managed to hit 32 home runs and drive in 108 runs in a very weak Cubs lineup in 2012. Think about what he could do in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup?
Better yet, just remember what he did back in 2002 and 2003 before the Yankees foolishly traded him to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. He is no longer the same player who averaged 30 home runs and 30 steals, but would it be that bad if he hit 25 home runs and stole 10 bases in New York in 2013?
While the salary would initially scare teams off, especially ones who are trying to avoid a future luxury tax bill of nearly $20 million down the road, Soriano’s contract and price tag comes with a caveat.
The Cubs know that they are still in the early rebuilding stages. Chicago is not going to compete for another two or three years, so they are still trading off pieces of value to other teams. Because of that, the Cubs would reportedly be willing to eat upward of $26 million of the remaining $36 million owed to Soriano.
With that being said, if the Yankees could steal him and only have to pay him $10 million over the next two years, what is there not to like? Look at his numbers and tell me he isn’t still a $5 million a year hitter. His defense is less than stellar, but his bat makes up for that. Platoon him as a left fielder with Gardner or use him as a designated hitter. After all, Rodriguez may miss at least half of the upcoming season, if not the entire year. The Yankees are going to need a strong right handed bat to replace him and, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Kevin Youkilis is not the answer.
Even in a bad season, as long as he plays at least 120 games, you can expect Soriano to hit at least 20 home runs and drive in 75 runs. Are those numbers really that much different than what Nick Swisher would be giving them over the next couple of seasons?
At least they would come at a much lower cost to the Yankees.
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