Soriano, 38, has hit only .221/.244/.367 (68 OPS+) with six home runs in 238 plate appearances this season. He had been relegated to platoon duty with Ichiro Suzuki getting most of the starts in right field.
The Yankees re-acquired Soriano from the Cubs at the trade deadline last summer, and he hit .256/.325/.525 (131 OPS+) with 17 homers and 50 RBI in 58 games after the deal. Chicago is paying $13 million of his $18 million salary this year. New York still owes him that last $5 million.
Soriano is in the final year of his massive eight-year., $138 million contract. He has indicated he will consider retirement after the season, especially if he had a poor year. This certainly qualifies as a poor year. Another team could sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum once he inevitably clears waivers and is released.
The move clears a roster spot for right-hander Bruce Billings. The 28-year-old has a 5.31 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts this year. He gives the Yankees an extra long man for their taxed bullpen.
New York acquired right-hander Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks earlier on Sunday, so they have certainly shaken up their roster.