Alfonso Soriano has been one of the most consistently streaky players in the majors over the last decade. When he is hot, he is red hot. When he is cold, he is ice cold. So when he opened the season on with 0-for-17 streak, Yankee fans knew to be patient and Soriano has rewarded their patience. In his last eight games, Soriano is hitting .345 with a 1.130 OPS and three homers. But there is consistency with the endless hot and cold streaks, what ever goes down must go up and vice versa. The overall trend is still upward after 16 seasons in the show. His twenty home runs since his trade back to New York last July are tops in the majors over that span.
Alfonso Soriano came up with the Yankees for cups of coffee in 1999 and 2000 before making the majors for good in 2001. He was nearly a Yankee hero for life when he hit the go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. He was one of the best young players in the game when the Yankees traded him to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. The move stunned Soriano, as he never wanted to leave New York. He would spend nearly a decade trying to get back to the Bronx.
Back where he feels he has always belonged, Soriano says the most important thing at this point in his career is winning.
At my age, I just want to win. I don’t want to be part of the future. I want to be part of the present. With the Yankees, it’s all about the present. It’s all about going to the World Series that year.
Soriano has been a total team player this season. He played right field for the first time in his career last week, although he has been the team’s primary DH. He even tried his hand at first base during spring training. Anything to help the team win. Soriano knows that he is a 38-year-old part-time outfielder who will be a free agent at the end of the season. The time to win is now and he may not have many more chances to win that elusive ring.
A championship would be the coup de grace on a stellar career. If he can play at a high level for a few more years, he may compile enough counting stats to move from a borderline case to a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Soriano has 409 career home runs and 288 career stolen bases. In the history of major league baseball, only four other players have amassed those numbers and two of them are in the Hall of Fame (Willie Mays and Andre Dawson) and the other would be Hall of Famers if not for their ties to PEDS (Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds). It will be an interesting case for the voters when his name finally goes on the ballot. But that is the future, and Soriano remains focused on the present and finally winning the World Series with the Yankees that he came so close to 13 years ago.