After designating Clay Rapada for assignment last week the Yankees have released the left-handed reliever.
Rapada is currently sidelined by a shoulder injury, but the Yankees needed the 40-man roster space more than they wanted to keep him around on the disabled list.
Rapada was pretty effective for the Yankees last season, posting a 2.82 ERA while holding left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average, but he logged a total of 38 innings in 70 appearances and is limited to being a southpaw specialist.
Clay Rapada, who was very effective as a situational left-hander for the Yankees last year, is expected to begin the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Rapada latched on with the Yankees last February after being released by the Orioles and appeared in 70 games, posting a 2.82 ERA and holding left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average.
New York’s primary left-handed reliever, Boone Logan, was sidelined by an elbow injury of his own recently, but now looks likely to avoid the DL.
Scott Boras, you will not be surprised to hear, believes that the Yankees should sign Rafael Soriano. From Jon Paul Morosi’s latest:
“If the Yankees didn’t sign Soriano, they wouldn’t have won the AL East,” Boras said flatly. “This is the value of depth. If the Yankees signed Soriano (after the 2010 season) when Rivera was 40 and healthy, why wouldn’t you sign Soriano when Rivera is 42 and coming off knee surgery? … When you know Mariano Rivera will be there for only one more year — at his age, coming off an injury — you can’t expect him to be what he was two years ago. There is a need there. You want to secure a great talent for future years. Soriano has proven he can be effective in New York. The team knows more about him. His value has gone higher.”
There is good sense in there. And, yes, the Yankees may sign Rafael Soriano. Anything can happen. But just assuming they will sign the big name free agents because they have the money like they used to is to ignore their stated and, thus far, carried out goal of getting payroll down compared to where it used to be so as to avoid the luxury tax.
The alternative to Soriano is to go with Rivera, who is coming back, Dave Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, and Cody Eppley, perhaps substituting one or two of them — or augmenting — with lower tier relievers and hoping that they can do what so many successful teams do and just capture lightning in a bottle on low price relievers.
Soriano would likely be a good pitcher for the next couple of years, but the make-do plan is not the worst plan in the world. Bullpens are crapshoots. And while there is no guarantee that Rivera is his old self when he comes back, the Yankees will start shooting craps from a pretty good position in 2013.