The Yankees now have the best bullpen in baseball. The Yankees and reliever, Rafael Soriano have agreed to a three-year contract worth $35 million. Interestingly enough, Soriano has an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him out his contract after the 2011 and 2012 seasons. However, it’s a virtual lock that Soriano will be in pinstripes for the next three seasons.

Earlier this week, Brian Cashman told the media that he would not surrender the team’s first round draft pick in order to sign any of the remaining Type A free agents. Perhaps Cashman was overruled in this instance.

Soriano was lights out for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, saving 45 games and posting a 1.73 ERA. I evaluated Soriano last week, so check it out here. Soriano will take over the eighth inning duties and give the Yankees insurance in case God breaks down.

Ultimately, the Yankees have now created virtually the best bullpen in baseball. Adding Soriano to an already dynamic bullpen that includes Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano, Joba Chamberlain, and wait for it…Boone Logan gives the Yankees a clear advantage over any other team. The Yankees are built to lock down October leads.

A few points to consider:

  • $12 Mil/Season For A Set-Up Man? Am I skeptical? Yes, but it’s not my money. I just root for the team, buy their $10 beers, etc. Remember too, the Yankees signed Mariano Rivera to a two-year deal already this off-season.
  • Is Joba going back to the rotation? The Yankees have spent roughly $27 million on the eighth and ninth innings, yet still need help in the rotation. Joba is better than Sergio Mitre, so it’s something to consider moving forward.
  • Is this the right move for the Bombers? Over the last few years, Cashman vowed to build the bullpen from the farm system and trade market. And for the most part, it has worked out. Relievers are very volatile and Soriano has had injury problems. In addition, after CC Sabathia, the Yankees have a ton of questions marks in their rotation. They will not be able to utilize their ‘super bullpen’ if they do not receive quality starts.
  • 80-7: When the Yankees had the lead after seven innings last year, they won 92% of the time. The Red Sox have gotten drastically better and a game or two could decide the division. With Soriano and Pedro Feliciano now in the fold, the Yanks will hopefully lock down more victories and give the aging Rivera more days off.
  • Negating Youth: Cashman has preached patience and investment into the team’s youth. Signing Soriano seems like a bit of a panic move, especially given his sticker price and Andy Pettitte’s unlikely return. The Yankees will now surrender their first round draft pick (#31 overall) to the Rays.
  • Fun Fact: The Rays now own eight of the first 86 picks in the MLB Draft (plus one more if Grant Balfour signs elsewhere). In comparison, the Yankees only have two. Give them a few years and the Rays will be back…
  • Your Move, Andy?: Yesterday, Andy Pettite notified the Yankees that they shouldn’t count on him for the 2011 season. But we can never count out Andy. This may be the Yankees way to entice the lefty to come back for one more go-around.

Yankee fans, weigh in. Do you like the move?