“Dear Jon Heymannadanna,
Will the New York Yankees attempt to pry Alfonso Soriano from the Nationals? Will it cost them a prized prospect? Will Soriano play left-field or 2nd base? And what about Bobby Abreu?”
Boy, Mr. Feder. You should do ask a lot of stupid questions for a guy from New Jersey.
John Heymanadanna (above) replies in this morning’s Newsday, along with tipping the Mets to go after Julio Lugo or Rafael Belliard, and suggesting that Bobby Valentine might make a good replacement for Dusty Baker.
Washington’s asking price for Alfonso Soriano is high — it’s well-regarded righthander Philip Hughes in a three- or even four-prospect package — but Soriano shouldn’t give up his dream of returning to the Yankees just yet. Soriano has kept his Fort Lee-area condo, just in case, and by all accounts is keeping his fingers crossed.
The Yankees do like the idea of importing the multi-talented Soriano but also hope to save their chips for a pitcher. One scout said Hughes has a “great fastball” and is “a potential No. 1.”
The Yankees aren’t exactly flush with top-level prospects, but pitchers Stephen White (just promoted to Columbus), T.J. Beam (4-0 at Double-A Trenton) and Jeff Kennard (97-mph thrower taught a split by Nardi Contreras) and power hitter Shelley Duncan (son of Dave) are tradeable commodities.
If the Phillies fall further, high-priced Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu are possibilities. Both have no-trade capabilities, but although Abreu once favored the Mets and staying in the National League, Yankees people believe he’d go to them, too. And why not? He’s Johnny Damon’s neighbor in the Bloomberg building on East 58th and could join him and Alex Rodriguez in their high-powered Stadium car pool.
The Nationals hope Boston becomes involved, but Soriano’s value is limited. He’d make a nice rightfield replacement for Gary Sheffield (whose $13-million option should not be exercised by the Yankees — good job by Brian Cashman holding him off in spring training), but Soriano is considered a rent-a-player, even by the Yankees.
That’s because Soriano is a free-agent-to-be who 1) thinks he’s a $13-million-to-$14-million-a-year player and 2) thinks he’s still a second baseman. Even the Yankees, who love him personally, don’t see him as either of those things (and maybe he’ll find out no one else does, either).