NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He is without a doubt one of the most popular and productive Yankees, but that doesn’t mean Alfonso Soriano knows what his future is beyond this season.
The 38-year-old outfielder told the NY Post on Thursday that he will consider retirement at season’s end.
“It depends on how I feel,’’ Soriano told the newspaper. “If I am healthy I will play [in 2015]. If not, I will let it go. It depends how I feel.’’
Soriano will be playing the final season of an eight-year, $136 million contract he signed back in 2007. The Yankees, who acquired him from the Chicago Cubs last July, are responsible for just $5 million of this season’s salary.
All indications are, even at his advanced age, Soriano can still play this game at a high level, and that includes driving in runs, which is the main reason the Yankees brought him back last season.
Soriano hit .255 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI last season, but 17 of those homers and 51 of the RBI came following the trade. Soriano did his damage with the Yankees in just 58 games, including an incredible four-game run in mid-August in which he drove in 18 runs.
And while it appears he hasn’t lost much of his ability, he has lost his starting spot. The Yankees are going to have to find a way to get Soriano at-bats even though their starting outfield right now seems to be Brett Gardner in left and free agent signings Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in center and right, respectively.
“I don’t know,’’ Soriano said when asked what his role will be. “They said something about DH and left field. I want to be in the lineup, it doesn’t matter where.’’
For the record, Soriano has been a designated hitter in just 35 of 1,043 career games, so he has understandable concerns.
“If I am the DH I will have to make adjustments,’’ Soriano said. “When the team is playing defense I will have to find a way to keep my body warm and ready.’’
Soriano broke into the majors full-time with the Yankees back in 2001 and hit a memorable go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series against Arizona. The Diamondbacks came back to win, ending the Yankees’ drive for four straight championships, but Soriano was on the cusp of becoming a star.
The next season Soriano hit .300 with 209 hits, 39 homers and 102 RBI, and then followed that up by hitting .290 with 38 homers and 91 RBI in 2003.
With his stock higher than ever the Yankees used Soriano as the centerpiece in the trade that brought Alex Rodriguez from Texas to the Bronx in 2004.
Soriano’s comments came one day after Derek Jeter addressed the media for the first time since announcing the 2014 season would be his last.
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