Found November 05, 2012 on
NY Sports Nut:
During his rise to elite closer status, Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria had been compared to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Now, it could be possible the two are in pinstripes next season. According to ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, Soria’s agent Oscar Suarez has said his client would be open to becoming a setup man for the Yankees and Rivera. The Yankees are the only team Soria would be open to not closing for.
In his first five seasons with the Royals, Soria accumulated 160 saves in 180 chances. The two-time American League All-Star posted a 2.40 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and struck out 341 batters in 3.15.1 innings pitched. The only time he has ever spent as a set-up man was his rookie year. That season, he started off as a set-up man before earning the closer role but after a shaky two months on the job, he was demoted before eventually regaining his closer’s role. He ended that season with nine holds.
The concern with Soria is when he would be available to pitch. Soria missed the entire 2012 season after needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. His agent said he should be ready to pitch at the major league level sometime in May, while most scouts believe the date would be closer to June.
However, with the Yankees unlikely to bring back Rafael Soriano, this could be a gamble worth taking. While Soriano is looking for a long-term deal worth big money, Soria could come relatively cheap. After missing last season, Soria would need to re-establish his value, meaning he could possibly be signed for one-year for a low amount. With David Robertson already penciled in as the primary set-up man for Rivera, there would be no rush in getting Soria up to the big leagues. If Soria does make a full recovery and returns to pitching as the Soria of old, the Yankees would have shut-down pitchers for the seventh, eight and ninth innings. Finally, with the likelihood of next season being Rivera’s last, Soria could become a candidate to become the Yankees closer after 2013, barring of course that he is pitching like the All-Star he was with the Royals.
His agent also mentioned Soria could be had soon, meaning if a good offer and situation were to present itself with another club, he could be off the market. However, its tough to envision a team investing in Soria as its closer if it is no guarantee he won’t be able to pitch until May or June. Plus, as his agent has already mentioned, if he isn’t pitching as a set-up man for the Yankees, he only wants to be a closer on another squad.
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