Alfonso Soriano makes sense for the Yankees, but shows they're doomed
However, the short and long-term problems in the Bronx both show with this trade. The short-term problems are obvious. The Yankee lineup is so beat up and so bad that a deeply flawed player such as Soriano constitutes an upgrade. Even worse, of those 17 homers, 8 have come in July, a month where he's hitting .227 with an .280 OBP otherwise. If those homers don't keep coming, he has no offensive value at all. The Yankees don't have much of a choice though. This was their lineup on Thursday, the day before Soriano joined. Accounting for it being a day off for Brett Gardner, it was Robinson Cano and an epic train wreck. The game was about what a Yankee win looks like these days. They scratched out two runs and rode a great pitching performance (this one by Hiroki Kuroda) to win. That pitching has kept them alive, but it still hasn't been enough. The Yankees come into today's games in 4th place in the AL East, seven back of Tampa, and 3.5 games back of the second wild card, currently held by Baltimore.
Soriano also shows the Yankees long-term problems. Note that they didn't look to the minors for help. That's because anyone they had in the minors that could help have been called up, and they didn't help. This could continue to be a problem going forward, as it's been a very bad year for Yankee prospects. This prospect issue compounds the trade market further for the Yankees, as it keeps them for getting players that could truly help, instead of flawed players with albatross contracts.
"But the Yankees can just buy the best players in free agency," some might be saying. In theory, yes, but take a look at the potential free agents this winter. How many of them have truly impact bats? The only definitive one is the Yankees' own Cano, but even he has risk being 30 and playing a position that ages players quickly. The lineup doesn't look like it's going to be a quick fix, and with rotation headliners that are also aging, the future gets even more muddled.
As the previous core of the Yankees gets old, injured, or farcical, if not all three, the next group up isn't really there yet, and with few exceptions, it's not coming. That, plus a free agent market that seemingly gets less and less attractive ever year, spells trouble. The Alfonso Sorianos of the world could be all that's left for the Yankees the next few years, and that would be really bad news for them.