Yesterday, the Yankees lost out on two bullpen options: Kerry Wood–who signed a “sweetheart” deal with the Cubs–and Bobby Jenks, who signed with the Red Sox for two years. Apparently, the former turned down a more lucrative deal from the White Sox, so it seems like his heart was set on going back to the Cubs. As for the latter, going to the Sox is definitely better for him. It’s a lot more likely that he could take over for Jonathan Papelbon than for Mariano Rivera. I can’t blame Jenks for going to Boston.
This leaves one big relief pitching free agent left: Rafael Soriano. We heard yesterday that the Yankees were in then not in on the former Rays reliever. In terms of talent and results, Soriano is definitely the best choice. Of course, he’ll come at a hefty price. He’s a closer and will want closer money. Obviously, the chances of him closing for the Yankees are very tiny.
Aside from money, there’s the draft pick compensation. Soriano is a type-A free agent, so signing him means forfeiting a draft pick in 2011. This draft is, apparently, very deep, and Brian Cashman has gone on record before saying that the Yankees do not want to give up draft picks for the sake of signing a reliever. This is a policy I agree with it. I could get behind signing Soriano if he (somehow) takes a cheap deal, but I wouldn’t even think of holding my breath on that one.
Internally, I think the Yankees are set for the “8th inning” role. Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson (with the occasional Boone Logan appearance thrown in for good measure) should be able to handle the ever important (yes, this is dripping with sarcasm) set up role. All three are cheap and the latter two have the potential to be closers one day.
My preference is for the Yankees to roll with Joba and D-Rob, since they’re much cheaper than any external option and the step down would not be all that big from a big name reliever.
What do you guys think? Should the Yankees get back onto the Soriano Train or should they roll with what they’ve got in the ‘pen already?