January 7 – Happy Birthday Alfonso Soriano
I have to admit, when A-Rod’s steroid use and hip injury were revealed before the 2009 season, I wondered what would have happened if the trade that made Rodriguez a Yankee and Soriano an ex-Yankee never happened. The Yankee team that made the trade had just been defeated for the
second time in a World Series in the past three years and Soriano had played poorly in both Fall Classics, especially at the plate and especially against the Marlins in 2003. He was swinging at pitches against Florida in clutch situations that were nowhere near the strike zone. Those of us who watched Yankee baseball regularly, knew this native Dominican was a streaky hitter but after the Marlin series you had to wonder why he never seemed to be on a hot streak in October.
So when the A-Rod/Red Sox deal fell apart and the Yankees stepped in and grabbed him instead, I like most Yankee fans thought New York had just fixed the problem that was causing them to lose World Series. But instead, it seemed as if all we did was give up one guy who couldn’t hit in October for another. Even worse, the Yankees could not make it back to the World Series since Soriano left, until 2009.
I know there’s a whole bunch of other reasons why the Yankees failed to make it to the Big Dance during that time and I did enjoy watching Rodriguez have two of the most incredible regular season performances any player in Pinstripes has ever had. Plus I realize if Soriano was still a Yankee Robinson Cano probably would not be. But until he signed his big free agent deal with the Cubbies, Soriano had put up some pretty respectable offensive numbers himself for a few years after he left New York, with some lineups that really didn’t come close to offering him the protection he would have enjoyed as a Yankee. And we know if the Red Sox had been successful acquiring A-Rod, the Yankees would have pulled the trigger on some signings they have since passed on. Bottom line would be that if the deal never happened, the worst case scenario as far as World Series titles were concerned is that the Yankees would have been just as successful from 2004 until 2008 with Soriano and without A-Rod and saved perhaps fifty million in salary to boot. But once we won it all in 2009 and could not have done so without A-Rod, I no longer need to wonder if the Soriano-for-A-Rod trade worked out best for New York. Especially since Soriano himself has not been near the same level of player since he signed his own “huge” free agent deal with the Cubs in 2007.
How time flies. Soriano is now a 14-year big league veteran, who turns 37 years old in 2013. He finished the 3012 with 372 career home runs and 1035 lifetime RBIs.