Ken Rosenthal’s latest article mentions that a trade of Alfonso Soriano could happen, but Nationals are more likely to offer Soriano a long-term deal to convince him to become an outfielder. I don’t doubt Rosenthal, but let’s take a look at some possible suitors for the second baseman. I’ll assume that a trade signifies no position change.
First off, let’s narrow the field by looking at which teams lack an established 2B.
Blue Jays – Looks like Aaron Hill is the man at second base for 2006, and he’s a fairly solid hitter already. Plus, Soriano probably isn’t Ricciardi’s type of player.
Mariners – Jose Lopez will get the nod entering this season, and he slugged .505 during a couple of stints at Triple A. Giving him a full-time shot makes way more sense than trading for Soriano.
Marlins – Obviously the Fish aren’t dealing for Sori.
Mets – The Mets have made all sorts of splashes this winter, and adding a 2B isn’t top priority. They’d like to cut their losses with Matsui, but Jeff Keppinger and Anderson Hernandez are viable in-house candidates.
Cubs – The Cubs have a three-headed monster at second base, and Soriano probably doesn’t fit into the budget at $12MM+ over several years. The Cubs have a tradition of free swinging, and I could see Hendry trying this for 2006 if A)The Nationals win their arbitration case and/or eat some salary and B)the price is low.
Of course, the Nationals already had an established 2B when they traded for Soriano, so maybe this isn’t the best guide. Rosenthal’s suggestion that Soriano will stay put is entirely logical once you break down the potential trade partners. If a deal was struck, it’d mostly be a salary dump and I think the only teams with mild interest would be the Cubs and Mets. Just my opinion.