Alfonso Soriano took more than just Vernon Wells’ number when the New York Yankees acquired him today; Soriano is going to take Wells’ playing time as well. Wells will be wearing No. 22 tonight as Soriano took the No. 12 off his back.
Soriano is a slight upgrade of what Wells is, an old right-handed outfielder/DH. They both play average defense, but Soriano is an enhancement in the power department in a lineup that has no power coming from their right-handed batters. Wells hasn’t hit a home run since May 12. Soriano has had nine home runs in the past 28 days.
Wells switching numbers with Soriano is a sign of respect and a very classy move. Wells is used to being a platoon player since his time with the Los Angeles Angels. He was an extra outfielder on the Angels, as he will be now on the Yankees. But with the acquisition of Soriano, I see his playing time being severely diminished.
Soriano was a Yankees fan favorite, and it is very refreshing to see him in the pinstripes once again. As it did for Ichiro Suzuki last year, switching from a team in the Dumpster to a contender could rejuvenate Soriano for the last two months of the season.
Derek Jeter and Soriano hugged during batting practice, and Soriano looked ecstatic to be back in the Bronx. There won’t be four lefties in the first four spots in the lineup tonight, as it has been numerous times recently. With Jeter’s imminent return, the Yankees could actually switch lefty-righty in the first four spots, which has been neutralized by a dominant lefty specialist by opposing teams many times this season. Soriano also provides better protection for the Yankees three-hitter, Robinson Cano, as Wells was basically a singles hitter from the four-spot, which would install fear from opposing pitchers.