The deed is finally done. Alfonso Soriano, the long-time Yankee second baseman and recent trade target last season, has been designated for assignment. The roster move has been confirmed by the Yankees:
#Yankees select RHP Bruce Billings from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; designate OF Alfonso Soriano for assignment.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 6, 2014
Given the way that Soriano has performed in recent months, it's no surprise to anybody that this has happened. After going on a tear during his second-half stint last season (130 wRC+, 17 home runs in 58 games), he's suddenly turned into a pumpkin this year. In 67 games, he's slashed .221/.244/.367 (61 wRC+) with just six home runs and has accumulated an abysmal -1.0 fWAR. It's been particularly bad as of late; in the last calendar month, he hit .200/.200/.250 (15 wRC+) with no home runs. The question wasn't if this would happen, it was a matter of when. If anything, it was done too late.
More on Soriano
More on Soriano
Regardless, Soriano will be missed. He was a member of the Yankees as a second baseman from 1999 to 2003 and took over the place of Chuck Knoblauch quite admirably in 2001, 2002, and 2003. He was most famously the key piece in the Alex Rodriguez trade in the 2003 offseason, and made his return just last season as the Yankees picked him up from the Cubs in which they traded Corey Black and took on some salary. If it wasn't for his offense, it's fair to say that the Yankees would have been eliminated much earlier than they were last year. He provided a much-needed spark to a starved offense.
This roster move clears the way for the Yankees to select the contract of Bruce Billings, another arm that can aid a bullpen that is being stretched thinner and thinner. And even though he has been pretty bad this year, it's likely a team will take a pass on him to see what's left in the tank. Even Raul Ibanez got another shot.
Well, thanks for everything, Sori. You may have struck out a ton, and we'll certainly miss our "swing-and-miss" jokes, but you gave us enough dingers to keep us satisfied. It's been a blast.