January 19, 2011

Are Rafael Soriano and Russell Martin in line for attitude adjustments?

Rafael Soriano and Russell Martin are the two biggest newcomers signed by the Yankees this offseason. Neither  was vastly overpaid — worth noting in Yankeeland — because they have the talent, but both have made awkward splashes in the press recently.

Rafael Soriano in the Media:
First, Bill Madden called him out in the Daily News on Saturday (my emphasis).

The 31-year-old Dominican's makeup is - and should be - of great concern. Despite his league-leading 45 saves and 1.73 ERA, Soriano was hated by almost everyone in Tampa Bay last year. His periodic hissy-fits over being brought into games in non-save situations, or being asked to pitch more than one inning wore thin on Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Well, that’s no good. However, Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey stuck up for him the next day in the same paper (different writer).

“He was the consummate pro. He took the ball every time he was asked, pitched well almost every single time we called on him and on days when I expected he would tell me he couldn't pitch he almost always said ‘whatever you need from me today.' ”

There’s a pretty clear discrepancy between Madden and Hickey, so we’ll have to wait and see about Soriano’s attitude. 

Two other tidbits for Soriano:

  • He is all about the money. Buster Olney wrote, “if some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45MM over the next three years, Soriano would consider it.” Gross.
  • Don’t be surprised if we see Soriano’s cooking featured on YES Network’s “Yankees on Deck.” Apparently, he invited teammates to meals he prepared. Yum.

Russell Martin in the Media:
Martin is a two-time All-Star, but not since 2008. Of course, we’d all love to see him return to that form with the Yankees. Martin has the explanation, sort of.

“I had some distractions that maybe led me not to have that same drive that I've had in the past,” he said. “Really, that's all it is, honestly. I didn't train quite as--I trained hard, but before, nobody trained as hard as I did.”

Well, Russ, you were in L.A. last year, which is filled with distractions. But tell me why New York City will be any different?

On the positive side for Martin, a columnist for the Toronto Star reported Martin was offered the same deal by the Blue Jays, but he went with the Yankees because he wanted a “chance to win.”

If you are curious why both sources for Martin are from Canada, it’s because he’s Canadian. The last Canadian-born player on the Yankees was … anyone know?

Aaron Guiel.

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