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New York Yankees: Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi React to Alfonso Soriano DFA

July 7th, 2014 at 6:28 PM
By Michael Moraitis

After the New York Yankees designated Alfonso Soriano for assignment on Sunday, manager Joe Girardi and shortstop Derek Jeter spoke on the matter, both in a heartfelt way.

Jeter, who played with Soriano during the 38-year-old's first stint with the Yankees from 1999 to 2003 before being traded in the deal that landed Alex Rodriguez in the Bronx, likened Soriano to a family member as the two have remained close for a long time, per George A. King III of the New York Post:

“Soriano is like family to me,” Jeter said. “I have played with him a long time, when he first came up and when he came back. Sori has had a tremendous career here in New York and it was difficult for him this year. Not playing every day, it’s hard to be productive.

“I feel for him and I am going to miss him but I will be in touch with him. He is like a brother to me. He should be proud of what he was able to do.’’

As for Girardi, the Yankees manager played with Soriano back in 1999 with the Yanks and has been his manager since last season until he was let go in 2014.

Here is exactly what Girardi had to say about Soriano's departure, per Alex M. Smith of MLB.com:

"It's extremely difficult, because he's been a great Yankee and a great player," manager Joe Girardi said.

"He never made excuses," Girardi said. "Never. I knew his wishes. I knew he wanted to play every day in the outfield. But that was Ich. That was Carlos, too. It was kind of difficult."

Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal noted Girardi seemed to take it especially hard:

The Yanks' manager went on to explain why the team made the move:

"We felt we needed more pitching today," Girardi said. "If something happened to Hiroki Kuroda early today, we'd be in a pickle, so we called up Billings. Our bullpen has been extremely taxed.

"For Sori, it's a guy who came in and did a tremendous job for us last year. He's had his struggles this year, and he's a guy who's used to playing every day. It wasn't everyday at-bats for him, so maybe it was harder for him to get going."

Soriano had some memorable times in the pinstripes, however his skills seem to be diminishing at his age and his near season-long slump is something a struggling offense like New York's can't afford.

As far as where Soriano goes from here remains a mystery.

If a team claims him off waivers, the Yanks could actually get something for Soriano while he gets a new team to play for after a deal is made. Or, Soriano could clear waivers, become a free agent and then choose whatever team he likes.

Soriano has also said that retirement is an option, which is quite possibly the most likely scenario considering his rapid decline this season.

Sure, Soriano's future remains murky at the moment, but it's abundantly clear just by seeing the reactions of Jeter and Girardi that Soriano is truly a great player who is an even better person and he will be missed by his former teammates.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Baseball, Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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