The Stange Case Of Rafael Soriano
Rafael Soriano is still looking for work. There is no telling what his agent Scott Boras is asking for - my guess is that he is telling everyone that Soriano is the second best closer in baseball history behind Mariano Rivera - but the fire-balling righty is still looking for a job. Reports this week were that he would considering serving as the setup man for Rivera with the Yankees, but the Yanks quickly shot down that rumor and said they weren't interested in dropping a ton of dough for a setup man (could that change if Andy Pettitte officially retires?). So where will Soriano end end? There aren't too many openings to fill 9th inning roles left vacant, so perhaps Soriano will have to settle for a smaller money deal, something that seemed unlikely a few weeks back when guys like Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier were getting 3-year deals. Has Mr. Boras finally failed one of his clients? You should know better than to doubt Mr. Boras at this point.
The real reason for the reluctance of teams to shed out major dinero for Soriano must be tied to his awful record of health since he has kept many a trainer/doctor in business over the years with a plethora of arm issues constantly slowing him down. Here are his innings pitched totals since he reached the big leagues.
47.1 53.0 3.1 7.1 60.0 72.0 14.0 75.2 62.1
Let me sum that up for you. In three of last eight seasons Soriano didn't even toss 15 innings. Would you be comfortable giving a guy like that $10 million a year? Me neither. At the same time, Soriano has tossed 60-innings in back-to-back seasons for the second time (the first was in 2006-07), though it's not as if he has been 100 percent healthy in that time. The fact of the matter is that all pitchers are at risk with every toss, though Soriano is clearly much more likely to come down with some ailment than your average hurler.
All of Soriano's injuries have obscured the fact that he is an absolutely dynamic pill tosser. Check out his career numbers. They are scintillating.
2.73 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.62 K/9, 3.58 K/BB, .193 BAA
You think those numbers are great? They are, but his 2010 effort made even those strong totals look average.
1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 8.23 K/9, 4.07 K/BB, .163 BAA
Wow is right.
I didn't even mention that Soriano racked up a career best 45 saves to lead the AL (he entered the year with 43 career saves). Soriano also posted the fourth best ERA in baseball for any hurler with at least 60-innings pitched while his WHIP was second (Joaquin Benoit was first at 0.68). That's some serious dealing folks.
Someone is going to end up with one hell of a reliever. The only question is will he be able to stay healthy long enough to reward that team for their investment in his golden arm?
All Free Agent Team
I'm scheduled to visit with Jeff Rickard on Saturday around 11 AM PST on MLB Network Radio to talk free agents. We're actually going to discuss whether or not you could put together a fantasy worthy team of players still looking to find a home for 2011 (i.e. they are free agents). Here is my all free agent fantasy team.
C: Bengie Molina 1B: Russell Branyan 2B: Adam Kennedy 3B: Jorge Cantu SS: Orlando Cabrera OF: Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon DH: Jim Thome SP: Andy Pettitte, Carl Pavano, Bruce Chen, Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia, Brad Penny, Chris Young RP: Mr. Soriano of course, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls
It's not exactly a powerhouse team that would win any leagues, but I've also seen people put together worse teams.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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