The New York Yankees are interested in strengthening their bullpen, largely thanks to the loss of Rafael Soriano for much of the season. The Yankees currently don’t know if or when they’ll get the vastly overpaid Soriano back at any point this year, and whether or not he’ll be able to give them anything out of him if he does come back.
The Yankees could use an extra reliever for the rest of 2011 and could have eyes on a guy who would be around for the future as a closer after Mariano Rivera’s eventual retirement. While guys like Francisco Rodriguez, Brandon League and Heath Bell will certainly be mentioned in conjunction with New York as the trade deadline approaches, the Yankees could actually already be in discussions with the Kansas City Royals about closer Joakim Soria.
The 27-year-old Soria is a two-time All-Star (2008, 2010) closer, who has a career 2.28 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 147 saves in 165 chances. He’s had a tough season thus far, saving 15 games and blowing five while sporting a 4.14 ERA and a 1.27 ERA.
The Royals have apparently been following Yankees prospects over the past few weeks, specifically a few catchers. Kansas City is not in love with Jesus Montero, and is likely to ask for Gary Sanchez or either Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy in exchange for Soria. You can bet there would be a few extra pieces thrown in along with a top-flight catcher in return for the Royals’ top trade piece.
Ken Rosenthal thinks the Rangers could also be a possible destination for Soria, but the Yankees make a lot of sense.
The one holdup on a deal is the fact that Soria has a no-trade clause that includes the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. There is no indication yet as to whether he would agree to be dealt to a contender.
Soria signed a three-year, $8.75 million extension in 2008. But the Royals also have club options on him for 2012, 2013 and 2014. He’s due $6 million next year, $8 million in 2013 and $8.75 million in 2014. The contract carries a $750,000 buyout for each season.*
*Information on contract was wrong, fixed now.