1-14-2011: The Yankees and Soriano, 2011 draft picks, Sox offseason pays off

The Yankees signed a pretty good reliever in Rafael Soriano yesterday, but curiously, I’m fairly positive about it. I’m happy because his 3-year, $35M deal (with TWO opt-out clauses) smacks of desperation. It’s like they were trying to copy what we did with Bobby Jenks, but botched it badly. Nobody pays this much to a setup guy, but somehow Scott Boras made the Yankees just look foolish. Brian Cashman had to directly go back on his word to sign Soriano, and they gave up their first-rounder to Tampa Bay in order to do it. They also ensured that we would get Texas’ first-round pick for signing Adrian Beltre. The Yankees haven’t improved this offseason, and they have some heavy payroll commitments coming up. I’m not saying that Soriano won’t make them better. He’s a very good player when healthy. But they could end up flushing quite a bit of change down the toilet on this deal.

We’ve done pretty well on gathering draft picks while also improving as a team (getting younger and more athletic). Only Tampa Bay has acquired more early picks, but I’m of the opinion that they will take a pretty big step back this year, so they’ll need them.

The Red Sox offseason has already paid off, as far as upper management is concerned. They are selling tickets like crazy, and ESPN has picked up four of their early games on Sunday nights. They are relevant again. They also have some ticket voucher giveaways coming right up.

Hideki Okajima has resigned with Boston for one year on the team’s terms. I still think he could be mildly effective, though we probably won’t see any more low-2 ERAs from him anytime soon. I feel somewhat comfortable with him and Felix Doubront as lefty options out of the pen, though even the righties don’t have terrible splits against lefties.

FanGraphs likes the Rays’ signing of Kyle Farnsworth more than our signing of Jenks, at least from a value standpoint. Farnsworth may turn out to be pretty solid. But Jenks has pitched his whole career in the homer-happy Cell, been a closer and has playoff experience. Farnsy, not so much. I think that’s worth a few million and an extra year to a contender.

According to WAR, only Kevin Youkilis’ late start has kept him from being considered with some of the best first basemen in the game.

Despite the signing of Carl Crawford likely relegating him to part-time duty, Mike Cameron’s agent relays that he would like to remain a Red Sox. Makes sense for him, as we are the current favorites. He’s still an important right-handed cog in our outfield rotation for 2011.

The Sox have invited 11 rookies to their annual development camp, and here is a very nice rundown by Alex Speier.

The Fenway right field fence won’t be moving in after all, as the Sox have canceled their plans. Marc Normandin says that it’s because they might lose their significant tax savings from preserving Fenway as a historical landmark. Darn tax laws.

The Red Sox announced their coaching staff for this season. There are a number of new faces throughout the minor leagues, including Bill Buckner. Yes, that Buckner.

Red Sox Beacon doesn’t see Lars Anderson as a legitimate first base prospect anymore. I agree that his star has certainly diminished, but I think you have to factor in his back woes the past couple of years, so I am reserving judgment a bit longer.

Boston signed utilityman Hector Luna last week, giving them a legitimate fielder to plug in should we experience another middle infield catastrophe this year. Given Marco Scutaro’s arm woes and Jed Lowrie’s injury history, this is a very good idea.

The Sox claimed catching prospect Max Ramirez from the Rangers, only to lose him to the Cubs on waivers. Easy come, easy go. They lost Matt Fox in the process, but they also got Tony Pena Jr. on a minor league deal. No biggie.


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