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A-Rod-Soriano symmetry

Alfonso Soriano hit what could have been a World Series-clinching home run in 2001. AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta

If Mariano Rivera doesn't blow a save, maybe Alex Rodriguez is never a Yankee.

If Rivera doesn't give up the bloop single to Luis Gonzalez in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, perhaps Alfonso Soriano never leaves New York.

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano

#12 LF
Chicago Cubs

2013 STATS

  • GM92
  • HR17

  • RBI51

  • R46

  • OBP.286

  • AVG.256

Because if Rivera had held on that one time, Soriano would have hit one of the great World Series home runs in Yankees history. Soriano put the Yankees up 2-1 in the eighth inning by golfing a Curt Schilling split-finger into the seats in what had been a classic Series with amazing Yankees comebacks throughout.

The image of Soriano gliding around first with his right fist thrust in the air could have been one for the ages. He thought he had just delivered a World Series title to New York, a tiny Band-Aid in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11.

By the end of the night, the Yankees had been defeated, but Soriano kept hitting. After leading the league in stolen bases, hits and runs in 2002, Soriano batted .290 with 38 home runs, 91 RBIs and 35 stolen bases in 2003.

Still, after that season, Aaron Boone would play pickup basketball and the Yankees would box out the Red Sox for A-Rod, giving up Soriano in the trade.

It could have been worse: Texas could have had Robinson Cano with Soriano in the deal, but instead chose Joaquin Arias.

Now, with Rodriguez's future in serious jeopardy, the Yankees are in talks to bring Soriano back. He left as a 28-year-old second baseman; he would return as a 37-year-old outfielder.

He very well could replace Vernon Wells in left until Curtis Granderson returns, then be part of the rotation that figures to unseat the probably soon-to-be-released Travis Hafner. Soriano, now 37, is hitting .256 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs. His OPS is .756, which includes a .286 on-base percentage. He is 11 homers shy of 400 for his career.

The Yankees need to find offense; especially against left-handed pitching. Against lefties, Soriano's OPS jumps to .820.

Soriano has one more year on his eight-year, $136 million contract. The Cubs likely would pay a good chunk of it, and he would settle in with Wells as depth for the 2014 team. Ichiro Suzuki also is signed for next season.

If the Yankees are going to have any chance of making the playoffs, they need to take a flier on a guy like Soriano. He pines to return to the Bronx, according to ESPN Insider Jim Bowden, who was his general manager in 2006 while with the Nationals.

After all of these years, you have to wonder what would have happened if Joe Torre had not brought the infield in and Soriano's home run turned out to be an all-time classic. Maybe the Yankees don't trade for A-Rod.

Instead, the addition of Rodriguez changed the Yankees' world forever. Now, Soriano could be coming back, while A-Rod might be going away for a long time, possibly forever.

QUESTION: With the Yankees expected to give up only a low-level prospect and the Cubs likely to pick up much of Soriano's salary, do you like this possible move?