Last year, Soriano posted an impressive 1.73 ERA and 0.80 WHIP along with 45 saves and a .163 opposing batting average. On top of that, in six appearances against the Red Sox, the former Ray posted a 1.50 ERA and converted five saves in five opportunities.
ESPN.com's Wallace Matthews thinks that the addition of Soriano is just what the Yankees needed to propel themselves back to the top of their division as AL East favorites heading into the 2011 season.
However, despite Matthews' claims, the Yankees are not the offseason winners and not the favorites to win the American League East division.
Not only did the Red Sox bolster their offense by adding Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, they also added key arms to their questionable bullpen to complement Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, including Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler.
More importantly, though, the Yankees still have major issues with their starting rotation. They failed to sign Cliff Lee, and Andy Pettitte is still uncertain of returning this year. Although the Yankees still have CC Sabathia, he will be followed in the rotation by a disappointing A.J. Burnett, an inconsistent Phil Hughes, a young Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre, who is best known as of late for his relief work.
Sabathia is one of the game's most elite pitchers, but he is the only truly proven commodity in a rotation of unreliable options.
Last year, in three starts against the Red Sox, Burnett was 0-1 with a 7.63 ERA and a .344 opposing batting average. He also finished with 15 losses and a 5.26 ERA.
Hughes was dominant before the All-Star break, but had a disappointing 7-6 record with a 4.90 ERA after the break.
Boston's starting rotation last year was disappointing, as well, but depth and high expectations will facilitate their rebound and outperform the New York rotation.
Matthews claims that Soriano is "the most significant move made by an AL team in the offseason," but that one major move, along with the failure to sign Lee, doesn’t make the Yankees the best team in the AL East. That title belongs to the Red Sox.
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