Three Misconceptions of the Rafael Soriano Deal

Yankees fans are split on the signing of Rafael Soriano to a three year deal, and that is understandable. What surprises me is how many people analyze the deal in ways that do not make any sense.

First Misconception: The Yankees paid a set up man $35 million over three years

The Yankees did not pay a set up man $35 million over three years. They paid an eighth inning closer $35 million over three years. The term isn't often used, but that is what an effective set up man is. If the Yankees lead a game by a run in the 8th inning and blow the lead, it is just as bad as if they lead a game in the 9th and blow the lead.

The 9th inning is the last inning of a game that does not go into extra innings, that is a fact, but the role of closer is overrated. Once a starter leaves the game with the lead, no matter what inning it is, the bullpen's job is to hold the lead. Sure they won't get a save, but the pitchers that create the bridge to the closer do save the game.

For example, CC Sabathia pitches seven innings and the Yankees lead by a run. In comes a random scrub. Yankees lose the lead and eventually lose the game. That isn't as bad as losing the lead in the ninth? Soriano has value. Put him in that same situation, he keeps the lead, in comes Mo, game over. That simple. The Yankees are paying an eighth inning closer $35 million over three years.

Second Misconception: The Red Sox still have a better bullpen than the Yankees

If you believe this, please watch this video. Red Sox fans have hyped up their bullpen acquisitions, when in reality the Yankees have quietly made improvements as well. Let's take a look.

Boston -

Bobby Jenks: ERA, WHIP, BAA have all risen each of the past two years. Lost closers role midseason. More hits allowed than innings pitched last season.

Dan Wheeler: Surprised me with how consistently good he is. Not going to complain about this one, great pickup for the Sawx.

New York -

Rafael Soriano: WHIP has lowered each of the past two years, ERA under 2.00 in 2010, 62 innings pitched with only 36 hits allowed.

Pedro Feliciano: While nothing jumps out at you statistically, Feliciano is like Wheeler in the fact that he is extremely consistent. Feliciano has pitched in 80+ games each of the past three seasons, and will be used against lefties, whom he holds under a .220 batting average consistently.

The Yankees acquisitions equal a 2.4 WAR compared to the Red Sox' 1.6 WAR.

Throw this in with the Yankees' 3.47 bullpen ERA in 2010 compared to the Red Sox' 4.24 bullpen ERA, and the fact is that the Yankees have a better bullpen.

Third Misconception: The 31st draft pick is that much better than the Yankees' next pick

We already went over that Greg Maddux and Jarrod Washburn are the only two big names that were drafted 31st, but we didn't go over who has been drafted after the 31st pick.. The Yankees have a sandwich pick thanks to Javier Vazquez signing with the Marlins.

Players who have been chosen after the 31st pick include Adam Dunn, the Red Sox' own Carl Crawford, Kevin Youklilis, and Dustin Pedroia, among others. 

The draft is a mystery and the Yankees could just as easily find a star after the 31st pick as they can at 31.

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