Just like their father, “The Boss”, George, the Steinbrenner boys, Hank and Hal, made their presence felt loud and clear by overruling GM Brian Cashman, ordering the signing of the Rays All-Star closer Rafael Soriano to become the Yankees “Bridge-to-Mariano” during the upcoming season, and hopefully in 2012. By 2013 if the “Great Mariano” retires, Soriano could become the next Yankees closer replacing the sure “first-time ballot” Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera.
The above account of this move was reported in the Saturday, January 15, 2011 edition of the New York Daily News by Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden, and Roger Rubin, a day after the Yanks announced the signing of Soriano.
As reported by Madden and Rubin, this turn around of the Yankees decison to sign Soriano goes back to “less than a week” ago when, “GM Brian Cashman had said he wouldn’t give up the first-round draft pick required to ink Soriano. But Hal and Hank Steinbrenner didn’t agree with this game plan – according to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking – and overruled him, giving the righthander a deal that could ultimately go to three years and pay him $35 million.”
The article goes on to say, “The overwhelming concern among the Yankees brass, the source said, was that the club was going into the season with an uncertain starting rotation and little protection for closer Mariano Rivera. The move leaves the team without the draft pick Cashman coveted, but with one of the best bullpens in baseball.”
Also, “According to the source, the Steinbrenners were bothered by Cashman’s blueprint. One of the big issues was that Joba Chamberlain, a prized prospect yet to reach an expected high ceiling, was going to be Rivera’s primary set-up man.”
“Cashman had maintained his confidence in homegrown relievers Chamberlain and David Robertson, but Bombers’ braintrust did not. If nothing else, they saw Soriano, coming off a career best 45-save season with a 1.73 ERA, as a premium insurance policy they couldn’t pass up.”
Along with the re-signing of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the signing of Rafael Soriano is also one of the Yankees most important moves of this very disappointing off-season, so far. Not getting Cliff Lee, who signed with the Phillies; And not pursuing Carl Crawford, who signed with the Red Sox, really have been two major set-backs for the Yanks. Also, it looks like Andy Pettitte is leaning towrads retirement. So this leads to many interesting decisions that have to be made during spring training.
I praise Hank and Hal Steinbrenner for taking charge of the Soriano signing, like they should have.
Now I hope Hank and Hal will also settle another very pressing matter regarding the Yankees pitching staff by sending down the orders to put Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation during spring training, to “finally” give Joba every opportunity to succeed as a starter this season.
After CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, the Yankees starting rotation is “very weak” and “uncertain” as of this date. Surely Joba Chamberlain can fill the role of the fourth or fifth starter very nicely this season if he is given the chance, that, in my view, he really has not been given [so far] in his brief major league career.
Again, I say: “Let the great Joba debate continue” !!!
– Jimmy Curran, “BY&L” – Baseball, The Yankees, and Life …