My internal dialogue:
Rafael Soriano? For Horacio Ramirez? Whoo-hoo!
Soriano for Ramirez? The Mariners can’t be that crazy. Okay, what’s wrong with him?
Soriano came into the Mariners system an outfielder. At 19, he was converted to the mound, and a sensational starting pitching prospect, blowing through system with a career 2.78 ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched. The Mariners gave him a shot in the rotation at 22 — remember, after only three years as a pitcher — and he didn’t blow them away, going 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 47 innings, so they made him into a reliever, indicating that the Mariners may indeed be that crazy. He was spectacular in that role in 2004, putting up a 1.53 ERA in 53 innings, then went down with an arm injury, eventually requiring Tommy John surgery, and missed most of the next two years.
He came back strong last year, throwing 60 innings with a 2.25 ERA, and striking out 65 versus 21 walks. At the end of August, he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero — who really should be registered as a weapon — and suffered a concussion. He was out of the hospital the next day but didn’t pitch again the next season.
If Soriano is fully healthy, he is a tremendous pitcher, a better than a strikeout an inning guy with good control. He allows a few more homers than I’d like in a relief ace, but considering the rest of the arsenal they’re going to tend to be solo shots. I still think he could be an ace starter, and those are rare, but the Braves are focusing on him as a reliever. The Mariners would have been better off trying him in the rotation, and I really don’t know what they were thinking.
Maybe the Mariners think he’s damaged goods after the concussion.
I tend to think that the Mariners are stupid.
I would have nontendered Horacio anyway.
I guess that’s why nobody ever asked you to run a ballclub.