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To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question For NYY? Soriano Deal Looks Imminent

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and there is very little doubt in the Bronx what the Yankees need.  For the first time since 1990, the Yankee offense is one of the worst in baseball. If there is any hope that the Yankees can compete for a playoff spot, the front office has to add pieces to the anemic Yankee lineup.

The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and there is very little doubt in the Bronx what the Yankees need. For the first time since 1990, the Yankee offense is one of the worst in baseball. If there is any hope that the Yankees can compete for a playoff spot, the front office has to add pieces to the anemic Yankee lineup. The Bronx Bombers are reeling out of the ALL – Star Break, dropping 3 of 4 – and 5 of their last 7 overall.  They need a quick resurgence, as the Rays have won 18 out of 20, while the Orioles have won 5 games in a row to both leapfrog them in the standings.  The Yankees begin play today 4.5 Games Behind the Playoff Bar.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

The dog days of summer have arrived.  Every team has played in excess of 90 games, and the All-Star break has come and gone.  At this point, it seems only right that we discuss the Yankees as either buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

 Going into Sunday, the Yankees were 6 games behind the Red Sox for first place and were 8 games over .500, which is good for fourth in the uber-competitive American League East.  

Certainly, a playoff spot is still available to the Yankees at this point, and I believe that if you are the Yankees you have to at least examine the market to find what offensive help is available.

The Yankees have pitched well throughout the first half and have both David Phelps and Michael Pineda returning from injury in the next few weeks so the team has enough pitching to get them through the second half and potentially into a playoff spot.  

The major issue has been and will continue to be the once vaunted Yankees offense is a shadow of its former self.

ALFONSO SORIANO ON THE THROW DOWN:

At 37, Paul Konerko is not the player he once was.  The White Sox legend has entered the twilight of his career and his numbers speak to that fact.  He has been unable to consistently hit right handed pitching this season but still can get around on left handed pitchers, which would make him a perfect platoon partner for Yankees current first baseman, Lyle Overbay.  Konerko is just coming off the Disabled List, but if his back is healthy, he would fit perfectly into the Yankees plans for the final two months of the season.

At 37, Paul Konerko is not the player he once was. The White Sox legend has entered the twilight of his career and his numbers speak to that fact. He has been unable to consistently hit right handed pitching this season but still can get around on left handed pitchers, which would make him a perfect platoon partner for Yankees current first baseman, Lyle Overbay. Konerko is just coming off the Disabled List, but if his back is healthy, he would fit perfectly into the Yankees plans for the final two months of the season.

For months, injury replacements were going to be the Yankee additions.  We have already discussed Mark Teixeira‘s season ending injury, and Lyle Overbay‘s struggles in replacing Tex’s production.  

Overbay has performed admirably against RHP with a .833 OPS, but it is clear that at worst the Yankees need to attempt to acquire a platoon partner for Overbay, whose numbers against LHP have been well below league average.

An interesting name to consider if the Yankees are going to buy is Paul Konerko.

 Konerko is in the final year of his contract with the White Sox, and while he is a favorite of the Chicago front office, ownership and fan base, Paulie K will turn 38 during Spring Training next season.  

Being an elder statesman in the game, it is clear that the White Sox will not be building around Konerko.  As an expiring free agent, Konerko would fit into the Yankees stated goal of getting below the $189 million threshold come next season.  

Additionally, Konerko would be a good platoon partner for Overbay.  The White Sox First Baseman has traditionally been very good against RHP and LHP, but this season Konerko has had his problems dealing with RHP.  

On the other hand, his numbers against lefties are right in line with his career averages.  Making a deal with a struggling White Sox team for Konerko would provide a good left/right platoon with Overbay and allow for the Yankees to continue to try to meet their long term goals.

One bat alone will not solve the problem.  If the Yankees want to truly improve the offense, relying on just platooning the first base options will not be good enough.  

Travis Hafner, the regular Yankees designated hitter has been absolutely atrocious since April.  

Since May, Hafner has failed to hit above .200 in any given month, has gotten on base at less than a .300 clip and has been a nonexistent bat clogging the middle of the lineup when he is in the game.  

Replacing Hafner with some kind of positive offensive production is a must if the Yankees are going to generate runs.

Travis Hafner has failed to live up to the expectations set out by a brillant April.  After three solid months of below average performance, the Yankees will need to look elsewhere for a productive Designated Hitter for the rest of 2013.  Could an ex-Yankee in Alfonso Soriano help fill that gap?

Travis Hafner has failed to live up to the expectations set out by a brilliant April. After three solid months of below average performance, the Yankees will need to look elsewhere for a productive Designated Hitter for the rest of 2013. Could an ex-Yankee in Alfonso Soriano help fill that gap? He has similar power numbers to Alex Rodriguez since that trade.

There are several names to discuss in the DH role.  Some of them are in-house and others would require a trade.  As the trade deadline approaches, we will deal with the trade targets first.  One of the targets could be a former Yankee.

Once upon a time, Alfonso Soriano was the Yankees future at 2nd base, and Yankee fans envisioned he and Derek Jeter turning double plays for years to come. Everyone knows how this tale ends.

Soriano traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez and then bouncing around several teams until landing with the Chicago Cubs.  The Yankees found their second baseman of this generation in Robinson Cano, and no one has looked back.

Soriano may only be hitting .256 on the season - with 17 HRs and 51 RBI - however he has a 3 Slash Line of .296/.321/1.066 in his last 21 Games, with 10 HRs and 21 RBI.  This is the exact reason the Yankees need him in their lineup.  Hot 2nd Half play is nothing foreign to Soriano as he hit 17 HRS and 60 RBI in his last 72 Games last year - along with a OPS of .853

Soriano may only be hitting .256 on the season – with 17 HRs and 51 RBI – however he has a 3 Slash Line of .296/.321/1.066 in his last 21 Games, with 10 HRs and 21 RBI. This is the exact reason the Yankees need him in their lineup. Hot 2nd Half play is nothing foreign to Soriano – as he hit 17 HRS and 60 RBI in his last 72 Games last year – along with a OPS of .853.

As for offense, everyone knows what Soriano brings. He will hit for a good amount of power, he will never walk and he will strike out a lot. That all being said, his .260/.290/.480 slash line is a fair bit prettier than Travis Hafner’s season long slash line.

 Of course, pairing Curtis Granderson and Soriano in the same lineup might be a strike-out pitcher’s heaven on earth.

Other potential options in the trade market will depend on who is buying and selling at the deadline. Other offensive options exist down on the farm.

As for a potential 3B/DH replacement, Ronnier Mustelier is a name that many will remember from Spring Training.  

Musty hasn’t had a particularly healthy season in Triple-A Scranton, but he does offer a right handed bat that many thought was ready to break camp with the big club in April prior to his injury.  

The biggest problem here has been health.

Musty, as the Yankee fans took to referring to Ronnier Mustelier during Spring Training, is one of the bats that could end up helping the club in the next eight weeks.  His right handed swing is in desperate need on a club that is dominated by left handed bats.

Musty, as the Yankee fans took to referring to Ronnier Mustelier during Spring Training, is one of the bats that could end up helping the club in the next eight weeks. His right handed swing is in desperate need on a club that is dominated by left handed bats.

Mustelier has been ok with the bat when healthy, but he has not shown the consistent ability this year to stay healthy.  

Perhaps a shot at the designated hitter role with the big league club would allow him to do just that.  Musty is the type of player who doesn’t walk a to but also manages not to strike out at ridiculous level.  

His BABIP is down a bit from his career minor league average (.280 v. .302) which means he probably will regress slightly and his batting average would improve.  Overall, considering the state of the offense at this point, would Musty really be worse than Brent Lillibridge?

Another area where the Yankee offense could improve is at Catcher where Chris Stewart and Austin Romine are managing to provide defense but little in the way of offensive value.  

An option that has been mentioned several times in this space, and now, by the Yankees front office is J.R. Murphy.  Murphy was promoted to Triple-A Scranton earlier in the season and has shown very good offensive skills this season.

Murphy’s BABIP seems a bit inflated at .333, which means that .299 batting average isn’t an accurate representation of his skill set, but his ISO of .175 seems justified when compared to his performance at Double-A the last two seasons.  

If that isolated power translated, it would instantly make Murphy the Yankees best power hitting backstop and probably, their best offensive threat from the position period.

As the trade deadline quickly approaches, there are ways for the Yankees to improve their offense.  Whether it is through promotion or trades, it is important that this happens quickly if there is hope in the Bronx for another appearance in the post-season come October.

Soriano is in the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract.  Last year he hit 32 HRs and added 108 RBI.  If NY adds him,it has to be with the CUBS eating the majority of his contract left.  Now, the Yankees are desperate for just what Soriano offers- right handed power in the 5 or 6 spot in the lineup.  Soriano is interesting because the Cubs would love nothing more than to get out from under his contract, but he is probably an unlikely addition due to that same contract.  The Cubs would be willing to absorb some of Soriano's remaining deal, but with him being under contract through next season, how much of the contract the Cubs would be willing to eat would be a very important portion of any trade.

Soriano is in the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract. Last year he hit 32 HRs and added 108 RBI. If NY adds him,it has to be with the CUBS eating the majority of his contract left. Now, the Yankees are desperate for just what he offers- as a right handed power in the 5 or 6 spot in the lineup. The Cubs would be willing to absorb some of Soriano’s remaining deal, but with him being under contract through next season, how much of the contract the Cubs would be willing to eat would be a very important portion of any trade – and particular to know with the Yankees Luxury Tax Threshold for 2014.  It has been reported a deal is extremely close – if not done already between Chicago and New York.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Trade and Yankees Correspondent’ Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami. He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter.

Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time. He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players.

He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships. Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love.

The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching. Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball

“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” ~ Al Gallagher, 1971

a    nicholas rossoletti

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Posted on July 23, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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