The trade is complete. Alfonso Soriano is in New York and playing tonight for the Yankees, and High-A Tampa pitcher Corey Black is moving to the Cubs organization. The Cubs will pay $17.7 million of Soriano's $24.5 million left for this year and next, with the Yankees on the hook for just $7.1 million. Derek Albin calculated a mere $4 million cap hit for next year, which is really not much; think of it as a small deal one-year deal the Yankees might have given to a veteran in the off-season.
More on Black:
Black had a 9.6 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 82 2/3 innings (19 starts) with Tampa this year, pitching to a 4.25 ERA and 3.27 FIP. He was a fourth round pick by the Yankees in last year's draft, and his best pitch is his blazing fastball, which Sherman mentions in the above tweet.
Black does have promise, but many consider him a likely reliever in the future given his small size and control problems. Even people who ranked him among the Yankees' top 20 prospects have some doubt about him, like Minor League Ball's John Sickels:
12) Corey Black, RHP, Grade B-: 4.29 ERA with 86/43 K/BB in 78 innings for Tampa, just one homer allowed. Throws very hard, as high as 100 MPH at his best, but command is problematic and he is more likely a reliever in the long run.
There's likely something there in Black's fastball, but as several have noted on Twitter, the Yankees are dealing from a position of strength. They might struggle with position players and starting pitchers, but their system has proven to be factory of successful relief pitchers. Although it's tough to see Black's fastball leave the system, it would be ridiculous to not attempt any improvement on a team just a few games back of a playoff spot.
If Black turns into a Ron Guidry-type success story, then good for him. For now though, the Yankees can afford to deal away a pitcher who hasn't even cracked Double-A. Remember Arodys Vizcaino? He was an even more highly-touted young arm who the Yankees sent away in the Javier Vazquez deal. The Braves eventually dealt him to the Cubs, and he's had to undergo both season-ending Tommy John surgery and arthroscopic elbow surgery in consecutive years.
These young arms are a crapshoot, and if giving away just one helps this team contend for the playoffs, then it's worth it.
Editor's Note: Read my interview with Corey Black from two weeks ago! - Jason
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