Yankees considering using Alfonso Soriano as back-up first baseman

27 Comments

Over his 15-year career, Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano has logged time at five of the eight non-pitcher positions on the diamond. The only three positions he hasn’t played are catcher, first base and right field. He might make it six this season. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reports that manager Joe Girardi has kicked around the idea of using Soriano at first base to spell Mark Teixeira from time to time.

“We have kicked it around a little bit,” manager Joe Girardi said.

[…]

Soriano, who will play in the outfield Friday night, will primarily be a designated hitter. However, he could spell Mark Teixeira from time to time during the season. The Yankees do not plan to carry strictly a backup first baseman.

Kelly Johnson, the team’s starting third baseman, is listed as the back-up first and second baseman. Given that Johnson is neither two nor three people, the Yankees would like to diversify their portfolio, so to speak, which explains brainstorming Soriano at first.

At the age of 37 last season, Soriano blasted 34 home runs and posted a .791 OPS with the Cubs and the Yankees. He moved back to the Bronx in a trade at the end of July. Soriano’s contract expires at the end of the season and he’s been mulling retirement.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.