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Sunday, January 20, 2013

GOODBYE SORIANO, WELCOME HOME MARIANO

There will be no “untuck” this year; instead we go back to the familiar sounds of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” when Mariano Rivera takes the mound. Sure, it sucks to lose Rafael Soriano, but we will manage. I have had several conversations over the last few days with fellow baseball fans. Some are like us, diehard Yankee fans; others not so much. Yankee fans or not a lot of the people said losing Soriano makes them a much weaker team, and some were pretty close to panicking. Fear not Yankee fans, it’s too early to panic or throw in the towel because we have always been in good hands with Mo.


The 2013 season hasn’t even started yet and it already feels weird.  There will be no more Nick Swisher, and Alex Rodriguez won’t be able to play for half of the season. In addition to that, we have lost Soriano the man who did the impossible task of filling in for Mo and saved 42 games. I’m still amazed to this day. Now that Soriano has signed with the Nationals, it will be weird to see him play the same role for another team, but…..I’m ok with that.

Don’t get me wrong, I will miss Soriano, and I am not happy that he is gone. I am happy to have Mo back though. Some people think that the Yankees made a big mistake by not offering him a better deal. I get that, some people I talked to made some really great points. It’s true, Mo is definitely up there in age and coming back from this injury will not be an easy task….but he is Mo. If it were any other player on the planet, I would worry, but Mo is unlike any other closer in the game. He is like a superhero. I would argue that he is one of a kind and that the odds of ever seeing another closer like him are about as likely as me acquiring the organization from the Steinbrenner family AND winning a billion dollar lottery. Ok, so that is very wild exaggeration on my part but I am sure you get the point. There is a reason why he has accomplished as much as he has in his career….he has a gift. When the game is on the line you give the ball to Mo. It has always been this way, and an injury doesn’t change that.
It’s likely that this is Mo’s last year, I hate to even think about it and I hope I am wrong but it could be. He had to think about if he was going to come back for 2013 so this could be the end but I never rule anything out. In the event that it is, not keeping Soriano means we lost out on a reliable closer for the future and we “only” get a draft pick for it. I heard that argument a few times. I understand the thought process to a point, but as the Yankees work toward getting younger and developing their own players to save money I like the idea of a draft pick. A draft pick now could be a new superstar for us a few years down the road.

As for the argument that the Yankees need an experienced closer, then we aren’t working as hard as we should be to develop our own players and we are back to square one with overspending for established superstars. Sure, it is risky to trust the ninth inning to someone who doesn’t have the experience, especially in the AL East but we have a great bullpen.

I have said it once already, but if Mo gets injured again we have David Aardsma who could play that role. He’s closed games before, just not in the AL East. We can’t forget about David Robertson either, despite his struggles at times last year he has proven that he has the ability. I think Larry Rothschild could work his magic on him some more. Another person that comes to mind is Mark Montgomery, sure he isn’t experienced per say, but he has really put up some insane numbers down in AAA and by the end of this year I bet money he is called up. You can’t gain experience without being given an opportunity. Mariano Rivera had to work his way up the ladder too, once upon a time.

Soriano is extremely talented, but the bottom line is he does not want to be a setup man. I can appreciate his honesty. I just want players here who have the same goal here that we have ad that is to win, no matter what their role may be. When it comes time for Mo to retire the torch won’t be passed to Soriano, but I am not going to panic. The Yankees have a lot of exciting possibilities out there, and we probably don’t even know the majority of them yet. Sure, none of them will be like MO, but realistically no one ever will be because he is that rare of a find. It would have been nice to give Soriano the closer role, but I truly believe that things happen for a reason.

At the end of the day, I am thankful that we had Soriano to hold things down for us while Mo was gone and I wish him well in Washington, but when it comes to Mo I don’t worry about him until he gives me a good reason to. An injury that is in the past just isn’t a reason to worry about the future.  I still believe in Mo.
That’s my take on it anyway. What’s yours? Let us know!


--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ





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