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Sunday, December 19, 2010
Greinke is not a Yankee, but there's a better Royal to consider

By Andrew Marchand

The Yankees didn't really want Zack Greinke, and now they don't have him. Greinke has been dealt to the Brewers.

The Yankees were concerned about how Greinke would handle New York, and because the Royals wanted to be "overwhelmed," according to one source, the Yankees decided the risk-reward gamble was too great. Plus, the Yankees were on Greinke's no-trade list.

One name to watch is Joakim Soria.

Let me stress, the Yankees are not going to get Soria now. Still, as they watch setup men and eighth-inning guys receive big money, the Yankees might add only a secondary reliever by spring training to give them depth. There very well could be no obvious Kerry Wood replacement. They would then allow Joba Chamberlain and/or David Robertson to try to win the eighth-inning job.

If neither has a firm hold on it by June, maybe Soria would become a possibility around the trade deadline. The Yankees were interested in Soria last season before they got Wood, but Kansas City didn't want to trade him.

Soria, like Grienke, has the Yankees on his no-trade list, but this is for strategic reasons, not a fear of New York. Soria, who will turn just 27 during next season, has a contract that'll start to get expensive after next season. If he were dealt to the Yankees, he may want to try to renegotiate anwyay.

Nonetheless, next year Soria will make a very reasonable $4 million, according to baseballreference.com, but in the next three years he'll have three team options at nearly $23 million total. So, by the deadline when the Royals aren't contending again, they may try to sell high on Soria. They would be trading three prime years to a team, and that should bring in quite a haul.

As opposed to a Rafael Soriano, Soria really could be the heir to Mariano Rivera's closer throne. Soriano just turned 31, so he would be 33 if Rivera were to retire at the end of his current contract. Who knows what Soriano would be by then? Plus, he is asking for way more than the Yankees want to spend for an eighth-inning guy.

So if we take GM Brian Cashman at his word, patience might be very important as it relates to the Yankees' eighth-inning role. Maybe they can solve it internally. If so, the Yankees can use their money and farm stystem to make another deal for another need.

Or perhaps they'll target Soria come the deadline and continue to move away from aging players, instead bringing in players in their prime.

Again, such a move is not happening now, but it is definitely something to watch when you think about the Yankees' bullpen.