New York Yankees: Mariano vs. Soriano New York Yankees: Mariano vs. Soriano New York Yankees: Mariano vs. Soriano

New York Yankees: Mariano vs. Soriano

Mariano vs. Soriano is a topic considered sacrilegious in Yankee Universe that no one wants to brooch but with the recent rumors that Mariano Rivera could return in 2012 it has to be.

Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First let me be clear in stating my opinion that Rivera is the greatest closer ever to play the game.

There is no other like Mo, and there never will be but this is not about his HOF (Hall-of-Fame) career.

This is about what puts the Yankees in the best position to win in 2012, and as much as my heart broke back on May 3rd when Mo got hurt, Rafael Soriano has mended it back together.

Soriano came into New York under total scrutiny, as he was signed by Yankee ownership in attempts to soften the blow of losing pitcher Cliff Lee to Philly, during the 2010-11 off-season.

What made things worse was GM Brian Cashman publicly stated via ESPN New York that he did not agree with signing the ex-Rays closer to a 3-year, $35 million deal but that Hal Steinbrenner and team President Randy Levine went over his head.

Now, fast-forward to today and try to imagine where the Yankees would be sans Soriano?

I can promise you it would be ugly; and I can pretty much guarantee you that the Yankees would not have the best record in MLB (55-34).

Without the dominant arm of Soriano in the ninth inning, the Bombers would probably be hanging somewhere around middle to bottom in the AL East standings.

And by no means am I saying that if Mo never got hurt the Yankees wouldn’t be having such a successful season. But Mo did get hurt, and the fate of the season almost went with him and should have but Soriano stepped up BIG time.

Trying to fill the beloved Rivera’s shoes is not what Soriano is trying to do as he has done it his way, which is aloof and un-tucked but the results are the same.

Soriano is absolutely dominating opposing batters, and winning games for the Yankees. He has yet to give up a homer this season, which is a miracle considering the bandbox he calls home. Here are Soriano’s stats thus far:

stats courtesy of

Reality is Rivera just turned 42-years old so justifiably his velocity has dropped. Inherently the decline in speed has made his cutter hittable, which means Mo has to locate the pitch perfectly as there is little room for error.

The even bigger problem about this situation is eliminating ‘the who’ when the player’s name is Mariano Rivera.

Look, I love Mo just like everyone else, but the goal is to win; and truth is Rafael Soriano is doing an unbelievable job and a better one for now.

I would like to see him in the 9th inning for the rest of 2012. And please know it breaks my heart to admit that truth, but by NO means am I saying I do not want Mo back because that could not be further from the truth.

Bottom-line is that if Rivera returns in 2012 it could put the Yankees brass, GM and manager between a rock and a hard place, as why would you break something that is already working/winning?

PLEASE NOTE this article is about the 2012 season only, not 2013 as that is yet TBD.


  1. Scott says:

    I agree completely. I knew Soriano was in a bad situation when the Yankees signed him, and it's a great story to see him overcome such adversity under the biggest spotlight in professional sports. I can't say I was ever a big fan of Soriano's, but he has made a believer out of me. He certainly zones into his game when put in a save situation – unlike any other time.

    Even if the front office convinces Mo not to return this season, you KNOW he'll be back next year. So where does that leave the Yankees and Soriano come next Spring?

    • LLP says:

      Scott I can't even go there yet, as Mo is a free agent this off-season and the Yankees are not going to pay him $18 million again but another team will and that has to be looked at as a possibility. Right now, Soriano is a better closer and he is only just 32 years old.

    • Richard Griffith says:

      What bad situation? No one put a gun to his head. " Hey Soriano, how would you feel if we gave you a 3-year Closer contract to pitch for the Yankees and back up MO." What adversity? He saved over 40 games the previous year. He got closer money to pitch in a less stressful 7th or 8th inning. And yes he struggled (call it adjustment or lack of concentration)

      If MO comes back this year or next and is his regular self then nothing changes. However, based on Soriano's performance I think the Yanks have a BIG decision on Soriano as whether to sign him again – What with the payroll issues.

      • LLP says:

        Richard….Soriano is LEGIT!! The Yankees have him for another season so there is time to figure whether tio ink him long-term or not.

        Mo is NOT coming back this season according to Girardi and Cashman, which means they avoid being forced to make an uncomfortable decision.

        The goal is to win and as of today, I want Soriano pitching in the ninth inning. Bring Mo back in 2013, but he is going to have to give the Yankees a home-town discount. I have a feeling this might get ugly, and the media will cause a shit-storm about it.

  2. Richard Griffith says:

    "SORIANO IS A BETTER CLOSER THAN MO RIGHT NOW". did you have sleep deprivation when you wrote that?

    First off, I'm glad we have both and when MO returns (15M annual the last 4 yrs) he goes right back to his old spot. WHO DO YOU WANT to pitch in the playoffs?

    Just look at the ERA+, WHIP or any other stat and tell me who has pitched the best. Man, I worried about your lack of common sense.

    • LLP says:

      Richard, Mo is 42 as much as I worship the man his cutter has been hittable more than I felt comfortable with the last two seasons. Also, Mo will be a tad rusty when he returns and that could cost the Yankees if that happens at a a crucial point like September; also in October pending they make the playoffs.