Rafael Soriano

My internal dialogue:

Rafael Soriano? For Horacio Ramirez? Whoo-hoo!

Soriano for Ramirez? The Mariners can’t be that crazy. Okay, what’s wrong with him?

Soriano came into the Mariners system an outfielder. At 19, he was converted to the mound, and a sensational starting pitching prospect, blowing through system with a career 2.78 ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched. The Mariners gave him a shot in the rotation at 22 — remember, after only three years as a pitcher — and he didn’t blow them away, going 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 47 innings, so they made him into a reliever, indicating that the Mariners may indeed be that crazy. He was spectacular in that role in 2004, putting up a 1.53 ERA in 53 innings, then went down with an arm injury, eventually requiring Tommy John surgery, and missed most of the next two years.

He came back strong last year, throwing 60 innings with a 2.25 ERA, and striking out 65 versus 21 walks. At the end of August, he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero — who really should be registered as a weapon — and suffered a concussion. He was out of the hospital the next day but didn’t pitch again the next season.

If Soriano is fully healthy, he is a tremendous pitcher, a better than a strikeout an inning guy with good control. He allows a few more homers than I’d like in a relief ace, but considering the rest of the arsenal they’re going to tend to be solo shots. I still think he could be an ace starter, and those are rare, but the Braves are focusing on him as a reliever. The Mariners would have been better off trying him in the rotation, and I really don’t know what they were thinking.

Maybe the Mariners think he’s damaged goods after the concussion.

I tend to think that the Mariners are stupid.

I would have nontendered Horacio anyway.

I guess that’s why nobody ever asked you to run a ballclub.

Rafael Soriano Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

57 thoughts on “Rafael Soriano”

  1. One of the best moments of the winter was the trade for Soriano. That said, Soriano does have an interesting biography–I just hope that he does not prove to be another Aybar–a player whose value declines soon after he puts on an Atlanta uniform. I am certainly looking forward to seeing him pitch for the Braves. Given Wickman’s age, it makes sense to keep him in the bullpen so that he can develop further….

  2. Yeah, its just a classic question-mark-for-question-mark trade. Ramirez is a question mark with his health and consistency. Soriano is a question mark (a much smaller question mark) with his concussion. Those liners up the middle can really screw up a pitchers mental thinking and even career. That is most likely what the Mariners were thinking when they traded him (I guess). Either that or they were way desperate for starter, and i do mean DESPERATE!

  3. I like him in the pen for this year, but I wouldn’t mind trying him in the rotation next year, especially if a few of our younger arms develop and Gonzo is consistent enough to close.

  4. The fact is, relief pitchers are always a question mark. If they weren’t they would be starters (or at least closers). A lot of times, trades that look lopsided on their face end up not being so much in the end. I liked the trade, but there is no guarantee that it will be as much favorable toward the Braves as it now looks. On the other hand, the Braves have a pretty good track record of not getting burned when they trade players away.

  5. Just read over the “red vs. blue” article on Furcal vs. Giles.

    I think I was on the Giles end of that debate. Sad that we kept neither.

  6. Cormier and the Vulture will find themselves in the rotation (or the DL) before Soriano gets a shot to start, that is if BC and JS think the bullpen will be fine without him.

    It is nice to have a handful of guys in your pen that could also “start”. There are also some young pitchers that are quickly proving they deserve a shot in 2008. What does all this mean?

    This is a do-or-die year for Kyle Davies

  7. Unless Soriano just blows in the pen, or Davies pulls his best Trey Hodges impersonation, I just dont see him in the rotation. He should be the #1 righty out of the pen to setup Wickman. I know the thought of Soriano in the rotation may sound appealing, but remember the disaster of a pen we had last year? I wouldnt want to send Paronto or Yates in the 8th again, do any of you?

  8. I don’t want to see Paronto or Yates in the eighth inning, but I don’t want to see Cormier in the first either. Pick your poison…

  9. Soriano as a starter should be explored this season considering we have Wickman and Gonzalez in the pen. Once we lose Wickman I would prefer to see him in the bullpen, unless of course he becomes a top 3 starter type of player.

  10. After this year, Devine and Boyer should both be ready for the pen. We have a few other arms in the minors that should also be useful (don’t have their names off the top of my head), so while we wouldn’t have the best pen ever, it should still be pretty good. And if Soriano’s got the stuff to be a #1 or #2 starter, we’ve got to give it a shot.

  11. Love the trade because it addressed a huge need for Atlanta & we let go of a guy whose upside probably wasn’t that high.

    I tend to doubt that Soriano will be a Vlady-impaired basket case this year, but y’never know. I’d like to see this guy pitch a little bit before further projecting his future.

  12. Vlad Guerrero is a frightening hitter, but I actually think that the Mariners’ pitching coaches and trainers should be registered with CDC as a public health hazard to anyone with a pitching arm. They have singlehandedly destroyed enough pitching prospects to fill out an entire starting rotation and bullpen. If the Mariners think Soriano’s damaged goods, that’s because they damage every pitcher they touch.

  13. Soriano got hit in the head by a line drive and so did Horacio. This deal made 0 sense for the Mariners no matter how you spin it.

  14. Who are the 13 position players that make team .. ??? looks like Orr, Prado, Woodward, Pena are all fighting for only 1 spot that is left … since McCann,B.Pena,CJones,Renteria,KJohnson,Thorman,Aybar,AJones,Langerhauns,CWilson,MDiaz,Francour are most likely in and that leaves one spot for those mentioned at the first ….

  15. I wonder if Bobby Cox would be smart/brave enough to pitch Wickman in the 8th if the first 3 hitters of that inning are righties, with strong lefties coming in the 9th being saved for Gonzo. They are both “closers” so why not let matchups dictate who pitches which inning. It’s not as if any of the Braves starters are likely to pitch past the 7th anyway.

  16. No, Bobby would be smarter and pitch Soriano in the 8th and hold Gonzalez in reserve if Wickman gets into trouble in the 9th

  17. I’m not sure there’s an ESPN bias against the Braves–it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    That said, Smoltz should be in there over quite a number of included names: Suppan, Wakefield, Arroyo, Igawa?

  18. For years, the Braves and TBS represented competition to ESPN. Of course they are biased against the Braves, and it does make sense.

  19. flournoy,

    You can’t be serious. You seriously think that the ESPN staff is so worked up over TBS that they would leave Braves off over some sort of “bias”? With all due respect, that’s paranoid. Why would the worker bees give a damn about the competition at corporate level? Fans of every team in every sport think that one or another media outlet is biased against their team. And, even if it was true, so what?

  20. I am scratching my head trying to figure out how there is not an evident New York bias. Maybe, anti-Brave bias sounds a little paranoid, but with our number one rivals in New York and most of the media we depend on, including the analysts and commentators, being based in New York, it seems like there ought to be one.

  21. Leo’s finding out that you can’t make bricks without straw, or mud, or water.

    I love the bullpen-by-committee idea. I could easily see each of thses guys pitching 80 fine innings and getting 20 saves. But Bobby’s not the kind of manager who thinks that far outside the box, Wickman’s a fine closer, and we’re only committed to him for 2007, so there’s nothing wrong with what Bobby’s going to do.

    Soriano gives the Braves three in-house emergency starters along with the ex-Arizona duo. Not many teams have depth at swingman, admittedly not something you usually hunt for. Gives Harrison, Lerew and the rest less pressure and more time to develop.

  22. OK, flournoy, so how do you explain the YES network, NESN, the old WWOR, or probably the best example, WGN? If you wanted to pick nits, you could argue the differences between TBS and YES, but WGN works in exactly the same way as Turner Broadcasting. It even calls/called itself the “Superstation.”

    So, no, suggesting that ESPN hates the Braves and wouldn’t put John Smoltz on their little list for that reason actually doesn’t make any sense at all–especially if your primary reasoning is that both channels broadcast MLB games. It’s apples and oranges.

  23. Not so much a New York bias, but a large market bias. But certainly not an anti-Braves bias.

  24. Lots of venom here.

    flournoy,

    You can’t be serious. You seriously think that the ESPN staff is so worked up over TBS that they would leave Braves off over some sort of “bias”? With all due respect, that’s paranoid. Why would the worker bees give a damn about the competition at corporate level? Fans of every team in every sport think that one or another media outlet is biased against their team. And, even if it was true, so what?

    I was serious, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted. You ask why ESPN employees care about corporate opinions. Maybe promotions? Do you like pissing off your boss? “And, even if it was true, so what?” I don’t really care, I never said that it bothers me.

    OK, flournoy, so how do you explain the YES network, NESN, the old WWOR, or probably the best example, WGN? If you wanted to pick nits, you could argue the differences between TBS and YES, but WGN works in exactly the same way as Turner Broadcasting. It even calls/called itself the “Superstation.”

    So, no, suggesting that ESPN hates the Braves and wouldn’t put John Smoltz on their little list for that reason actually doesn’t make any sense at all–especially if your primary reasoning is that both channels broadcast MLB games. It’s apples and oranges.

    I’ve never seen NESN, YES, or WWOR, I really don’t know anything about how they operate. Also, recall that I never said anything about the Cubs, WGN, or any other station. Stating that ESPN is not biased against the Cubs doesn’t mean anything about their opinion of the Braves, for whatever the reasons. Nonetheless, I’m sure ESPN wasn’t happy about Cubs and White Sox games on WGN.

    And, if you only voted for three guys, then you have a shitty rotation.

    I’m not really sure what to make of this.

  25. Here’s another question potentially involving that “NY bias.”

    Why is everyone picking the Mets as the best team in the NL? I can see them as the team in the NL East, maybe, but not definitely, but when you start the season with 4 question marks in your starting rotation behind Tom Glavine, I don’t see that as any better than the Braves. If anything, I could see the Phillies as the most likely team to win the division. The Mets, Braves, and Marlins probably have higher ceilings than the Phils, but more question marks as well.

    Anyway, prognosticators seem to skim over the starting rotation to talk about the Mets offense. Aren’t they missing something here? Or, is it I?

  26. Not to stick up for the Mets—I mean, really—but their rotation wasn’t terrifying last year & they won 97 games, plus 6/10 in the post-season.

    If people wanna pick ’em, it has nothing to do with any notion of a bias. If people pick the Mets, that’s fine & I understand.

    And I could care less.

    As Bobby Cox once said (in regard to some Tony LaRussa whining), “I worry about my own team.”

  27. I agree with ububba. But just like my girlfriend nags me about, I couldn’t care less. Sorry ububba. :)

    But yeah, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter who picks who and whatnot. At the same time, I do think there is some anti-Braves bias, and that may not be personally, but just the fact that there is some apparent pro-NY bias. Because the Braves share the division with the Mets, and NY teams seem to get loved on, it leaves the Braves with no love… basically by default. I have no facts for that; it’s just the impression that I get.

  28. Well here’s one thing, and this may be of no importance whatsoever. But VERY frequently when they show a player hitting well or a pitcher pitching well, it seems to be at Turner Field against the Braves. I used to write it off by saying “Eh, TBS is big; that must be why.” But now you have WGN, YES, NESN, FSN, so what’s the point of always showing success against the Braves. That’s something I’ve ALWAYS noticed.

  29. Someone else might have mentioned this but I know Mariners fans have said that Soriano told the Ms he wanted to relieve and after his arm injuries maybe that is for the better. No need to get up starting hopes for him

  30. I remember about ten years ago Joe Morgan, on an ESPN broadcast, saying that he wanted the Braves to lose so that “someone else would get a chance”.

  31. I’m sure that some fans felt the same way about the Reds between 1970-1976, when they won 5 of 7 NL West flags. But I don’t imagine Curt Gowdy was saying that during the Game of the Week.

  32. I’m not holding my breath. Besides, once we get the high contracts out of the system, that should help a great deal.

  33. Yeah but how important are those players with high contracts? Sure there’s the two stinkers (Hampton and Hudson), but Smoltz, Andruw and Chipper are all signed to huge contracts. Where would we be without them?

  34. can someone please tell me what soriano’s contract status is like? gonzo is 3 years from arbitration right? what about soriano? when will he be a free agent?

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