Yankees acquire Alfonso Soriano

 

After nine seasons away from the team that signed him as a 22-year old out of Japan, Alfonso Soriano has returned home to the Bronx.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio, the Yankees and Cubs have completed a deal that sends the veteran outfielder to New York in exchange for High-A ball pitcher, Corey Black. With the Tampa Yankees this year, Black is 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA. He has an impressive 88 strikeouts in 82.2 IP, but also 45 walks. Because Soriano has 10-and-5 rights (10 years in MLB, 5 with current team), he had the right to veto any trade proposal.

The Yankees were in desperate need of a right-handed bat with some pop, and they might be getting Soriano at the right time. In his last 25 games, he’s hitting .275 with 10 homers and 21 RBI. Overall this season, he’s hitting .254/.287/.467 with 17 homers and 51 RBI. Soriano now figures to be the best offensive threat in the lineup behind Robinson Cano, automatically ranking first on the team in doubles (24) and second in home runs and RBI behind Robbie. When Curtis Granderson returns, the Yankees will have three left-handed bats in the lineup – meaning Soriano would likely move to being the full-time DH, putting Travis Hafner‘s status up in the air. Soriano would probably see time in left field against lefties.

Soriano, 37, was traded from the Yankees in 2004 along with infielder Joaquin Arias for some guy named Alex Rodriguez. After two years in Texas and a stop in Washington, Soriano signed an 8-year contract worth $136 mil with the Cubs in the winter of ’06. In six and a half seasons since, Soriano has averaged 26 homers and 75 RBI while hitting .264, being named to the All-Star team twice (’07-’08).

Soriano still has about $25 million of that deal remaining, which expires after the ’14 season. The Yankees will pick up about $1.8 mil this season and $5 mil next season, with the Cubs paying the rest – according to Bowden.  The Yankees expect Sori to be in uniform Friday night, ready to take on the Rays in a huge three-game weekend series.

In a week that saw the Alex Rodriguez saga elevate to new levels, it’s only fitting that the Yankees acquire the man they originally traded away.

Welcome back, Sori. It’s been too long.

 

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Rich Kaufman

Ever since my parents bought me a Paul O'Neill shirt at my first Yankees game back in 1994 I've been a diehard fan. I graduated from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., in 2011 with a degree in Communications/Sports Journalism, so writing about the Yankees has always been a passion of mine.