On July 26, the Yankees executed a trade which brought Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx for minor league pitcher Corey Black. Black is a 21 year old right handed power pitcher for Class A Tampa. Black was a fourth round pick in the 2012 MLB draft out of a small junior college. The Cubs were interested in Black because he contains a 100 mph fastball and a knack for striking out opposing hitters, 88 strikeouts in 82 innings. However, Black is not flawless. In 19 starts, he owned a 4.25 ERA because he has trouble locating the ball. He walked 45 players in 82 innings. Along with gaining a prospect with high upside, the Cubs were given some salary cap relief. The Cubs will be paying about 18 of the 24 million dollars owed to Soriano over the next two seasons.
The Yankees needed to execute this trade for Alfonso Soriano because they offense is completely anemic. The Yankees clean up hitters have the worst statistics in MLB. This is strange for the Yankees because they are used to hitters like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Paul O’Neill. Along with a horrible four hitter, the Yankees have no pop in their order. The Yankees are ranked toward the bottom in the majors in all batting categories. In July, the Yankees have hit less home runs, 7, than Alfonso Soriano, 8. Although Soriano is not a great player and frequently strikeouts, he will provide power and production to an offense that is stuck and hopeless. The Yankees may have traded for Soriano at the right time because he has recently heated up and began tearing the cover off of the baseball. Although his average has been dipping, the right hander has regained his home run stroke. Last year, Soriano mashed 32 home runs for the Cubs. In July, Soriano has hit 8 home runs and maintained a .629 slugging percentage, his best power month of the season. Th addition of Soriano will give the Yankees a bat from the right side of the plate that pitchers actually fear. The Yankees have not hit a home run from the right hand side since June 25. The Yankees needed someone who split the lefty hitters in the Yankee lineup. The Yankees three best hitters, Gardner, Ichiro, and Cano, are all lefty hitters who bat at the top of the order. If an opposing manager wanted to neutralize the batters, they could send a lefty to pitch to all three without the threat of facing a right handed batter. Joe Girardi is able to tinker with his lineup and slide Cano into the clean up spot to split his lefties in the lineup. The other managers will be have a tough decision because Soriano has a career batting average 20 points higher against left handed pitchers than right handed pitchers.
Although Soriano is not a great player, he will make a difference in the Yankees lineup. If he wins 2-3 games for them this season, the trade will definitely be worth it for the Yankees. The Yankees gave up very little in the deal and should be happy they executed it with the Cubs, although it is much to the chagrin of GM Brian Cashman.
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