Soriano Got Snubbed, Plain and Simple

 
 
Getty Images
Today as we sit with our families or in a baseball stadium celebrating our Nation’s birth date, I am going to use my right to freedom of speech to it fullest. I am going to use a right afforded to me by my forefathers to insure my opinion and my personal stance on a subject will not fall to persecution or alienation by my peers. That the written virtue of my prose is guaranteed, and can also be challenged by any other person with a differing opinion. It is one of the greatest rights afforded to us, and one each of us use daily, maybe without knowing it.

I do not know why, but I had the resounding feeling before today’s announcement of the 2010 All-Star rosters that someone on the Tampa Bay Rays, who deserved a roster spot for the 2010 All-Star game would get the shaft. It really shocked me that New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, who has personally seen Rays closer Rafael Soriano up close and personal this season, would leave the Rays closer off his initial list of pitchers for the All-Star nod. Considering Girardi manages in the same division as the Rays, and saw Soriano in action against his Yankees (May 20th), you would have thought he would see the solidarity and the security Soriano has brought to the back end of the Rays Bullpen.

Maybe this is one of those tongue-in-cheek All-Star snubs that was made to make an obscure point. I might be in the minority here, but how can you argue with Soriano’s in-your-face statistics as being the reason for his obvious omission. Who can argue with a pitcher who has 20 saves, and is currently only two off the league lead not being on the A L All-Star roster. Could it be Soriano’s one lone blown save opportunity as the deciding factor in his name missing from this roster?

Soriano’s 95.2 percent save percentage is tops in the Major Leagues, and should have been a nicely highlighted stat to the level of consistency that Soriano has been nothing short of spectacular for the Rays since being acquired on Dec 11. Not since former Rays closer Roberto Hernandez last put on a Rays uniform has this team had a solid reliever who can close the door and secure the game with undying confidence for the Rays. Soriano has shown his consistent nature by posting his second 20-save campaign of his career.
A great illustration of the new Rays confidence that Soriano has brought the Rays can best be shown in the recent June 19th game against the Florida Marlins when Soriano came into the contest in the eighth inning, the first time he had entered the game before the ninth inning for the Rays. Soriano did end up this appearance with his first blown save, even though he did not let a single runner reach base. Soriano’s inherited runners on third and first base with a one run lead , and the tying run did scored on a fielder’s choice.

 
Chris O’Meara/AP
Also remarkable is the fact Soriano converted his first 16 straight save opportunities, of the season to tie a Rays club record held by Al Reyes. If you look further back, it was Soriano’s 21st save in a row. You would think that with a set of impressive statistics like this on paper it would be an easy choice to pick Soriano as a reliever for the American League All-Star roster. How could Girardi forget that Soriano is currently 2-0 with a impressive 1.52 ERA and has allowed only 2 earned runs in his last 21 appearances, and has not issued a walk in his last 15 time on the mound. During this period, Soriano has held hitters to a .168 batting average, which is the 8th best mark in the Major Leagues.

It has only been a short period of time since Soriano was picked as the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month (May) after not allowing a run in his 12 appearances while converting all 9 of his save situations. During May 2010, Soriano only allowed just three hits and 3 walks while posting nine strikeouts while holding opposing hitters to a .086 average. All the above statistics and information should be good enough to at least getting a secondary glance to securing an All-Star nod. But for some reason, Soriano’s name was omitted from the first list of pitchers selected for the American League squad.

How soon Girardi has forgotten that Soriano pulled off a major coup of saving both halves of the Boston doubleheader on April 17th. Soriano came into the resumed contest that afternoon and got the initial save in the duo games. Soriano then came on again in the ninth inning of the regularly scheduled game and got his second save of the day. Soriano became the first Rays pitcher to ever record two saves in one day.

Maybe it was a miscalculation by Girardi. Maybe there is a viable excuse for Soriano’s omission like having to place one member (Joakim Soria, Matt Thorton) of each of the American League teams on the All-Star roster. The Rays Republic knows there has to be some great excuse, some insurmountable tale of the stats that pushed Girardi’s eyes away from Soriano glaring statistics. I do not see it for the life of me what averted his eyes from seriously considering Soriano.
I might be a bit prejudiced here, but I also can see the solidarity and the difference that Soriano has made to this Rays team.

From his Rays game introduction complete with a raging flurry of flames and hard bass beats, you get the feeling the Rays truly got a value when they acquired the $ 9.5 million dollar man. I honestly expected Girardi to include his own closer, Yankee Mariano Rivera, and his secondary selection of Detroit closer Jose Valverde is a solid pick. My only question is why there are only two closer type candidates when past rosters have been stacked with them?


 

Could there be a darker reason why Soriano is not on this year’s A L roster? Could Girardi be pushing his own pinstripe pride a little too far. The very visual and apparent deletion by Girardi of Soriano could be fixed in the coming days because of pitching injuries. The idea of not including Soriano came as a complete shock to me I can understand Girardi’s confidence in his own closer Rivera, but when a closer dominates his league ,shows the ability to get the job done day in and day out, he should be on the short list for an opportunity like the All-Star game.

Hopefully it was a close decision with at least a few minutes of deliberation and chatter, and one that had to be made even without regard to Soriano’s bold and brash dominating performances to date. Hopefully Girardi’s decision of leaving Soriano has more to do with the roster make-up, and less to do with him being a Ray.
 
 

 

10 Comments

I know you must be disappointed, Renegade, and I don’t blame you. I thought Andy Pettitte and his 10 wins would guarantee his spot on the roster. (He may pitch yet as CC Sabathia is scheduled to start Sunday and Pettitte could be a substitute.) But as with the Oscars and other “races” like this, there are always perceived snubs that leave people scratching their heads and looking for answers. I wish I had one for you.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Congrats on the Rays’ All stars! I am glad you are using your first amendment right to voice your opinion. I too am disappointed that Jered Weaver is not in the AL roster. I question the fact that there are 6 Yankees in the roster but Joe Girardi is this year’s manager. I also question Manuel’s picks and the NL roster. Joey Votto not a starter say what? Anyways! David Price just might start it out for us. I don’t know who else is more deserving :)

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Mimi,
I was odd that NYY Manager/A L All-Star Manager Joe Girardi took so many Yankee teammates, but sometimes the All-Star Game selection process after the fan voting gets a bit dark and mysterious to me.
You are right, Jered Weavewr was another one of those guys I wondered why was not at least a A L “Final Vote” guy, but it seems that Girardi dtreamlined his pitching selections compared to some years.
Joey Votto at least getting a chance with the N L “Final Vote” still gives him at least an open door to getting selected. He is my choice in the NL for the final spot.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think because the manager for the AL is Joe Girardi that he picked more Yankees and showed some hostility toward the Rays. Im a huge Mets fan, and I believe Charlie Manuel showed hostility toward the Mets in not picking Mike Pelfrey and selecting Omar Infante instead for example.

NYM,
You would like to think that politics or personal vendettas and opinions would not have any directional pull in the selection process, but itdoes.
Some said the same about Rays Manager Joe Maddon when he selected Carlos Pena after he lost the A L Final Vote, but an injury made a spot for him/
You would think MLB would kind of shadow the proceedings, but again, the “City That Never Sleeps” pulled another slight of hand trick, and we are the losers.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jane,
I was hoping you might bring up your aging leftie. Pettitte to me should have gotten the nod over Phil Hughes. More for the point of Pettitte might go the way of Ken Griffey Jr at the end of the year and this might be his final shot.
If I remember right, MLB instilled a rule this year that if a pitcher throws on Sunday ( as a starter), they are not eligible to partake in the All-Star game. If that is the case, Pettittemight have been a guy purely in mind for C C Sabathia.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Maybe he can still sneak in as an injury replacement? At the rate people are dropping, who knows? It is sad though to see deserving players left off the roster…happens every year.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Renegade,
Love that photo of Soriano from Getty images. Perfect shot to make your case. Definite snub in my view.Your other stars might be shining too brightly for the way this game is marketed?
Hope they don’t shine so much tonight of course.
cheers,
michael
http://thomasox.mlblogs.com/

Jenn.
I know every team might have one more guy that should be considered, or get a secondary glance, but Soriano was dominating in the first half unlike some others.
I have hinted at this before, and maybe it needs to now see the light of day….The MLB All-Star squads might need to be expanded 4 more slots to bring some of theborderline or plays that miss a slot because all 30 teams needa at least one representative.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Michael,
The next three games could be a great decider of what direction each team is heading. Our two game series in Fenway really only showed that we have similarities, but during this series…It will be more about pride and wanting to set a good positive image going into the second half of the season.
Rays won 4 of their 6 recent road games against two great teams. Could be that the Rays took a small catnapand finally woke up against the Red Sox and Twins….I guess we will see tonight?

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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