Rafael Soriano is not among the top five save leaders in the American League, but I still wish his name would be called when the All-Star team is officially unveiled later today.
Soriano technically didn’t get the save yesterday afternoon, but he saved Boone Logan by seemingly effortlessly dispatching the Chicago White Sox in the 9th inning. Watching Soriano come in to end the game, I’m reminded of what a godsend he has been since taking over the closer’s job for the injured Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. I was pushing for D-Rob to get the job after Mo went down for the season, but Soriano grabbed hold of the job and has refused to let go. He has been nearly perfect in save opportunities this year, with 17 of 18 saves converted, the most saves in a season by a guy not named Mariano Rivera since Mo took over the job for good in 1997.
When the great Mariano goes down and the New York Yankees find a replacement for a future Hall of Famer who has not just made the devastating loss manageable but has actually contributed to the now first-place team’s renaissance, that player deserves special recognition. That is why I’m hoping that Soriano is rewarded for his efforts with a spot on the All-Star team.
It probably won’t happen, with six guys ahead of him in the saves category, some of whom also have very compelling and worthy numbers. Soriano may even prefer it that way, having already been an All-Star once before in 2010. Under the new rules, players named to the team must show up, barring some kind of personal catastrophic event or injury, which I refer to as the Derek Jeter rule after the Yankees shortstop declined to play in the All-Star game last year.
Soriano may prefer to spend the time with his family rather than in scorching Kansas City. But even if he does not make the team, he should be proud of his contribution to his team’s renaissance because they couldn’t have done it without him.