Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sori Seems To Be The Hardest Word

It's amazing how a four game losing streak will turn the press in NY around. Just a week ago they were talking about the scrappy new look Yankees and how the energy of the young players had them more of a "team" as opposed to a collection of stars. Now the press will be bemoaning the lack of offense, the inability to get the key hit, and the general malaise in the clubhouse.

Of course it's nothing that an infusion of another $10 million player can't fix. Alfonso Soriano is off to a fantastic start in Washington. He has 22 home runs at this point. He has certainly hit a lot better than I thought he would in Washingtion. Soriano is a free agent and the Nationals know that he is not going to resign with them. They also know that they are not going to compete for the playoffs this year, so it seems fairly obvious that they will look to trade Soriano at some point. Given his stellar play so far, his value will never be higher. Soriano still strikes out too much and doesn't take enough walks to hit leadoff, but he is a very valuable player.

The Yankees don't have a whole lot in the minor league system to trade and they are not going to part with either Cano or Wang. The only player who might land them Soriano is Phillip Hughes. He's a 19 year old right hander with a mid 90's fastball. He is the best prospect in the Yankees farm system right now. He's got a great arm and he's got no history. That's what makes him so valuable. The Yankees would do well to trade him now because his value will probably never be higher. I hate parting with young players, but I always go with the Mattingly principle when it comes to trading for established players. When the Yankees traded for David Cone, Mattingly was asked if he thought that it was smart to give up players in the farm system. Basically Mattingly's response was that he knew who David Cone was, but he no idea who Marty Janzen was. That deal worked out very well for the Yankees. Others have not (trading Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner, Willie McGee, etc. for peanuts).

So should the Yankees trade for Soriano? It's really the $10 million dollar question. Given Soriano's position in Washington and his oft stated preference to play in New York, I think it makes perfect sense to pull the trigger on this deal. Soriano is now an outfielder. The Yankees are going to need a new right fielder to replace Sheffield and Soriano is only 30 and he wants to play in NY. Would the trade come back to haunt the Yankees? Possibly, but if Hughes turns out to be the next Roger Clemens, then the Yanks can just sign him when he becomes a free agent. And as Mattingly said, I know who Soriano is.



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