Hendry: Cubs Haven’t Considered Releasing Soriano

Cubs GM Jim Hendry said today on MLB Network Radio on SIRIUS XM that speculation about releasing Alfonso Soriano is unfounded.

"Never been a thought to it," Hendry told host Jim Memolo. "No. Those things are speculated by probably people in your profession, not ours."

ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote yesterday that he thinks there's a 50-50 chance the Cubs release Soriano before his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. It's not at all surprising to see Hendry deny that the Cubs have given any thought to releasing the left fielder, who will make $90MM over the course of the next five years. But even if no one in the Cubs front office has considered releasing Soriano, they may have to at some point. 

Soriano, 34, hit .275/.329/.519 with 110 homers in the three years preceding his contract with the Cubs. In the three-plus years since, he as a .274/.327/.506 line with 83 homers. Soriano's batting line is similar, but his power has dropped off since joining the Cubs, he's no longer the stolen base threat he once was, and his outfield defense was poor last year, according to UZR.


41 Responses to Hendry: Cubs Haven’t Considered Releasing Soriano Leave a Reply

  1. 04Forever 5 years ago

    overall not a bad player, just way to overpaid. If he were making $45 million til the end of his deal nobody would ever complain about him

    • He was a disaster with the bat and in the field last year, and again at the beginning of this season. At this point in his career he is a “bad” player.

      • cubnation 5 years ago

        Every triple A OF’er we have would be a better option than him right now. It’s only going to get worse. I honestly think he’s either 3 or 4 years older than what he says or was using some type of ‘enhancer’ before the fallout because his decline in athletic ability coincides with this dramatic fall in numbers.

      • 04Forever 5 years ago

        hes not bad, he makes way to much money, its the cubs fault that they overpaid AND signed him to so many years. whenever your going 5+ years on a career year player over 30, evil looms

        • cubnation 5 years ago

          so you’re going to tell me that his 241/303/423 last year wasnt bad???? The dude is listed as being 34 (i think hes 36,37). This is a natural decline that is not going to improve. It wasnt a fluke season. This guy’s toast! HE IS BAD!

          • 04Forever 5 years ago

            the numbers are mediocre, not bad. if he made under $10 million every year for the next 5 years you wouldnt be so upset, thats all im trying to say. You paid for a first class ticket and got coach. As far as the age thing, thats non-issue because you cant prove it and the cubs shouldve thought about natural decline when they signed the biggest deal in their history

          • cubnation 5 years ago

            you lose all credibility by saying that 241/303/423 is mediocre. Thats below average and anyone else that puts up those type of numbers along with the poor defense that soriano contributes, experiences a very short stay in the league.

            Why am I wasting my time with you? Anyone that has watched this guy play knows exactly what i’m talking about.

    • SCOLD 5 years ago

      NOT AS BAD AS DAVID ORTIZ WILL GIVE YOU ORTIZ AND TAKE SORIANO TO DH

  2. cubnation 5 years ago

    Saying his defense was poor last year is like telling your 300 lb wife that her butt DOESN’T look big in those jeans. Defensively speaking I cant think of left fielder in the game. I can think of a couple that compare but none are worse. To top it off, he refused to make adjustments at the plate last year (i.e. refusing to going to a more manageable bat in order to get it through the zone) and proceeded to bat 240, low low obs, low rbi totals and just a couple swiped bags. He isnt coachable. I think the worst thing about him is that he plays the game lazy. He’s just flat out complacent and lazy.

  3. ctownboy 5 years ago

    Soriano would perform better if he would realize Father Time is catching up with him and his reaction time is slowing down. To combat this, he needs to: 1) use a shorter, lighter weight bat 2) take more pitches 3) stop trying to hit a Home Run every At Bat. In the first game during the Reds series, Soriano came up to bat with the bases loaded in the first Inning. Reds’ Pitcher Mike Leake was making his Major League debut after having spent ZERO time in the Minors. So, Leake was nervous/excited and having a hard time with his control. What does Soriano do?

    He takes a first pitch Slider in the dirt. The second pitch is a high Fast Ball that he swings at and Fouls off. The third pitch is a Curve Ball which is outside. Soriano swings at it and hits it off the end of the bat for a lazy fly ball to Center Field which ends the Inning.

    If he had shown some patience in that At Bat, he might have had a better outcome. This is the game where Leake walked seven but the Cubs only scored three Runs. This is also the game where the Cubs lost 5 to 3 when Drew Stubbs hit a Grand Slam.

    If Soriano were using a shorter, lighter bat, he might have been able to get around on that high second pitch Fast Ball.

    If Soriano were using a shorter bat he might not chase those outside pitches so often (because he might not feel he can reach them).

    If Soriano were more patient, Leake might have walked him (thus forcing in a Run) or Leake might have HAD to throw him a hittable Fast Ball.

    Soriano HAS to realize he is NOT the same player he was five years ago and HAS to change and adapt. I thought hiring Jaramillo (SP?) would help Soriano do this. But I giess not.

    • bomberj11 5 years ago

      Can you please tell me what happens next? Please?

  4. jwsox 5 years ago

    soriano wont get released the new owner ship is too involved with the team and too smart to do that if anything what they will do is try to trade him get something minor in return and eat his contract…BEFORE ANYONE SAYS IT I KNOW HE HAS A FULL NO TRADE…but that does not mean he wont still be traded, if the booing off the field continues he will ok anything to get him out of town..and if they releqase him they will eat his contract anyway so why not just trade him for a mid level prospect or two and trade him to the AL where he can DH and actually potentiall be considered good again…..or and i know this is a stretch re work the rest of his deal so he gets paid euther slighty less or the sme just over a longer amount of time ALA the dodgers and Andruw Jones last year….Plain and simple he wont get released I know the cubs will make that 90 million this year in revenu becuase for some reason everyone and their mom are cubs fans but the rickets are too smart to do that he will either be put on waivers and pulled back or traded to an AL team

    • cubnation 5 years ago

      I cant argue with anything you’ve said here. I like the idea of extending his contract in order to push out the pay’ts. Maybe he will allow us to extend his contract for 100 or 200 more years, that way we would only be paying him 10 or 12 mil per year (that was a joke). I’m hoping he hits decently the first half this year and the rickets have the sense to trade him to an AL contender who could use a DH down the stretch. Thats best case scenario but unfortunately, overly unrealistic.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      I agree. Trading him is much more likely. If the Cubs ate 80% of the contract you could probably find someone willing to take on a 5/$18m remainder. That’s not a huge amount of savings but $18m is still $18m.

      • jwsox 5 years ago

        i agree with both of you…if you can find an AL contender that is right there but needs a little push if the cubs can convince someone to pay 5-6 mill a year for him thats probably what he would get on the open market…granted he would still be making 15+ from the cubs but If someone like NY, Boston,, Seattle, LAA, or any other AL team…get a guy who will hit right around .270 with 20-30 home runs(maybe more depending on the ball park and might be able to steal 10-15 maybe 20 bases thats not a bad deal for the team taking him on…and even better if they only have to give up a mid level prospect or two…although i could see an NL team making a move at him for the same deal…but for an NL team to take him the cubs would probably have to take more like 90% of his deal

        • Yankees420 5 years ago

          Except a .300 OBP isn’t going to “push” any team anywhere. Your listing the best possible case out of Soriano’s bat and no one would give him more than a 1 year deal on the open market, so you probably won’t be able to find a team to take a 5 year 25-30 million dollar declining and aging DH.

        • Yankees420 5 years ago

          Except a .300 OBP isn’t going to “push” any team anywhere. Your listing the best possible case out of Soriano’s bat and no one would give him more than a 1 year deal on the open market, so you probably won’t be able to find a team to take a 5 year 25-30 million dollar declining and aging DH.

  5. Suzysman 5 years ago

    This is why Soriano is in trouble

    wFB is Runs above average off the Fastball

    2002 – 29.9 wFB
    2003 – 32.7 wFB
    2004 – 26.4 wFB
    2005 – 27.6 wFB
    2006 – 23.7 wFB
    2007 – 23.3 wFB
    2008 – 17.9 wFB
    2009 – 7.4 wFB
    2010 – 0.4 wFB

    His entire career he has succeeded solely by pounding Fastballs, fastballs he can no longer hit. And what happens when a pure-FB hitter can no longer hit the FB at an above average rate? Usually out of the game…

    Of course Hendry isnt thinking about releasing him and his 90 million over 5 years. He can still be a 4th-5th OF for that money, even if he declines a bit more. But there is major reason to be concerned, and he stands a chance to get much worse if he doesnt somehow show some recovered ability to hit the fastball (or drastically change his approach. But after 12 years of people unsuccessfully trying to get him to make even minor changes, thats probably not happening)

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      Interesting stuff. That’s a pretty steady decline and it certainly doesn’t bode well for Soriano’s future success. Whereas before you could always count on him to make pitchers pay when they were foolish enough to throw him a fastball, now it seems Soriano isn’t a real threat to turn around the good heat either. What’s the likely cause? A slowing bat? Any way to know if it’s any fastball or is it just pitchers who throw harder — a la Mike Fontenot? Maybe the Cubs could consider benching him against harder throwers, as they did when the Cubs faced Tommy Hansen.

      • cubnation 5 years ago

        or maybe soriano will just feel bad that he isnt earning his contract and void the remainder of it. Yeah? 😀

        • crunchy1 5 years ago

          Don’t know too many people who would give up 90M whether they earned it or not!

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        First, got called away and had meant to have also included the /c mark which is “/per 100” along with that, so here goes

        2002 – 29.9 wFB – 2.12 wFB/C
        2003 – 32.7 wFB – 2.23 wFB/C
        2004 – 26.4 wFB – 2.27 wFB/C
        2005 – 27.6 wFB – 2.42 wFB/C
        2006 – 23.7 wFB – 1.60 wFB/C
        2007 – 23.3 wFB – 1.93 wFB/C
        2008 – 17.9 wFB – 1.86 wFB/C
        2009 – 7.4 wFB – 0.83 wFB/C
        2010 – 0.4 wFB – 0.81 wFB/C

        And just to give a deeper idea, he is at +189.3 wFB and -36.7 against everything else for his career.

        As a pure FB hitter without much ability to hit the FB any long, he is what we should really expect. Its a recipe for “DOOM!” – which I would normally like to follow up with something like a “Lol” that just sadly isnt applicable here…

        As far as speeds of the FB faced, he has consistently been averaging 90-91 MPH outside an increase to 91.9 on this young season.

        He is also seeing fewer FB as pitchers are throwing more and more Sliders and Cutters without the fear of punishment when they fall behind in the count.

        I fear what we might see as the season wear on and he is tiring, or worse, after another injury.

        • crunchy1 5 years ago

          You have to wonder if it’s even worth running him out there if he’s struggling with low 90s fastballs…for chrissake Silva is throwing 91 mph these days. If you can’t handle Silva’s heat then…

          So he doesn’t get on base, doesn’t run as well, doesn’t field well…and if his bat is indeed slowing, then it’s hard to imagine him hitting for much power either – at least not like he used to. You have to wonder if the Cubs aren’t better off trotting Colvin out there, who can at least play good defense at the corners — and it isn’t like he’s going to walk a whole lot less or hit for much less power than the guy he’d be replacing.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            “You have to wonder if the Cubs aren’t better off trotting Colvin out there, who can at least play good defense at the corners”

            While I agree in theory…

            Honestly, 5 years and 90 Million – you just have to play him and hope he somehow adjusts. (Edit to add that we better be working really hard to help him adjust too, the club cant JUST hope he adjusts! lol) And not having anyone who provides a clear upgrade at least makes it a little easier to swallow. I mean, yes, Colvin will provide better D but beyond that we really cant say he should be expected to do much (if any) better then the .250/.305/.425 Soriano produced last year. So hopefully Soriano can somehow adjust a bit and improve his line.

            With 5 more years and 90 million going to him either way, we should probably hope he goes on a hot streak which will allow us to eat cash but unload him on someone else. But we cant do that if he doesnt play, so we are almost forced to run him out there on a consistent basis.

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            I think there are adjustments he could make…from simple ones like a lighter bat, as was suggested, to bigger ones like shortening his swing and being more patient (with the idea being that if he’s ahead in the count, he’ll have a much easier time hitting a fastball if he’s expecting it)…but given Soriano’s stubborness over the years, I don’t see him making any such major adjustments to his swing and/or approach at the plate. At any rate, I agree that if he can hit even as much as he did 2 years ago, he’d be a better option than Colvin in the lineup, bad defense and all. However, if he’s going to give us 2009 again, I can’t see keeping him in the lineup because his value would be shot anyway and he’d be hurting the team with those kinds of numbers.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            “like shortening his swing and being more patient (with the idea being that if he’s ahead in the count, he’ll have a much easier time hitting a fastball if he’s expecting it)”

            See, thats probably a tall order. You are talking about completely changing 12 years worth of ML play, plus the minors.

            But my real concern there? .254/.426/.381/.807 in 176 PA when ahead in the count, with most of the OBP due to 25 PA of 3-0 counts (which somehow resulted in only 14 walks but those 14 BB is still most of the 21 BB he saw while ahead) That’s against .330/.461/.629/1.091 career and the average ML hitting .308/.482/.518/.999 last season. Yeah, that .999 is Average. Soriano with a .807 was pitiful – in hitters counts… :(

            I dont know, I have been thinking he was done for a while. But like I said, I feel like we have to deal with it. The only chance we have of getting rid of him is if he goes on a hot streak at the right time. Otherwise, we play Colvin over him now ensuring we have a 90 million bench bat for the next 5 seasons. I wouldnt be able to come to grips with that if I were a team.

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            I’d love for that scenario to play out: Soriano gets hot, the Cubs trade him to an AL team that needs a DH, and the Cubs save a little money in the process.

            But what if Soriano has a hot streak and the Cubs are in first — would they even have the guts to trade him at a big loss? I’m afraid a hot streak will have the Cubs thinking that the “old” Soriano is back and that he becomes “a big part of what we’re trying to do here.” I don’t know the Ricketts well enough yet to know how they’d view things, but I think it will take a direct order from ownership for the Cubs to trade Soriano in that scenario.

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Oh yeah, I doubt Hendry would be smart enough to realize that would be the time (and possibly the only chance) to trade him. I mean, Hendry is the guy still targeting relievers based off ERA and provided the quote I ranted on below just a moment ago. But I would hope someone would be able to talk him into doing it. He has to have people right now discussing the options that could play out regarding Soriano, doesnt he? I mean, someone within the organization has to be able to figure it out, right? God I hope so, but in this organization I sometimes question it.

            So I do fear he could get hot and the team decides not trade him thinking that months BA means he is a stud again. And that would suck, to say the least. But we will never get rid of him otherwise anyway, so at least we would receive that hot streak for our 90 million. I mean, always look on the bright side… :*(

          • studio179 5 years ago

            “I’d love for that scenario to play out: Soriano gets hot, the Cubs trade him to an AL team that needs a DH, and the Cubs save a little money in the process.”

            I’m a glass 1/2 full type. However, I don’t see Hendry doing it for a couple reasons. I will hold hope with you maybe word comes down for Jim to do it!

          • studio179 5 years ago

            “I’d love for that scenario to play out: Soriano gets hot, the Cubs trade him to an AL team that needs a DH, and the Cubs save a little money in the process.”

            I’m a glass 1/2 full type. However, I don’t see Hendry doing it for a couple reasons. I will hold hope with you maybe word comes down for Jim to do it!

    • ctownboy 5 years ago

      Your stats go along with what I was saying earlier. Soriano continuing to use a long, heavy bat is detrimental to his Offense. At his age and using that type of bat, he can no longer get around on Fast Balls and still is reaching for pitches out of the strike zone.

      In today’s game, this was obvious.

      First At Bat, Soriano swung at and missed Sliders that were low and away for strikes two and three.

      Second At Bat, he got a hit on an upper 80’s Slider that was above the knees and out over the plate.

      Third At Bat, he got a hit on a thigh high Slider clocked in the upper 80’s.

      Based on what I saw during the Cincinnati series, what Game Day said today and his stats from last year, Soriano now has a Slider speed bat and can only make opposing pitchers pay when they really groove a Fast Ball.

      So, this means Soriano is going to HAVE to use a smaller bat or get used to declining offensive stats (and more bench time resulting from that).

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        “So, this means Soriano is going to HAVE to use a smaller bat or get used to declining offensive stats (and more bench time resulting from that).”

        Its apparently taken us 3 years to get him to accept being moved out of the LO spot. Think he will change?

        I guess I should hold out hope, but he looks so uninterested while playing the field that I dont expect too much.

      • studio179 5 years ago

        I agree 100% with Ctownboy’s comments. Susysman’s stats prove thoughts everyone knew. It’s no secret leadoff hitters see more fastballs, where he wanted to hit. Though he is a horrible OB guy for lack of pitches taken, ec. He sees more sliders away even more in the run producing spots. This is why he struggles in post season when he was leading off. Teams treated his at bat as they do now with offspeed stuff. The heavy bat he uses when he was younger is tougher to swing now. He is too stuborn to lighten the bat. I thought Rudy was suppose to bring Soriano back to his senses. Right! He always pulls everything and is not a situational hitter. He always was bad at defense. We all knew he was a one trick pony and now that is not much to go on. Before the season, I thought 25 dongs from Soriano would be tops. While the season is long, his ways do not seem to favor change. I might have expected too much. Although, I did not predict Lou would consider benching/platooning Soriano this early. It will be interesting.

        • Suzysman 5 years ago

          Watching him the last couple days, he seems to be trying to adjust – meaning, he isnt swinging at much of anything. He is letting the curve balls and sliders go for the most part, but has also watched a couple 92-93 FB go right down the pipe which was strange. Overall, he watched 15, swinging at 10.

          The results? Today saw one K, one pop-up to 2nd off a 63 mph Curve, one weak bloop to 2nd off a 93mph Fastball that fell for a hit and the double after Lyons (doing everything to earn his paycheck) threw him 3 straight 91 mph “fast”balls down his red-zone for some strange inexplicable reason. The third 91 mph fastball he actually caught up with, managing a double. An encouraging sign :/

  6. aap212 5 years ago

    He had a career year in his walk year, got a huge contract, and is getting older not younger. He is exactly what anyone would reasonably expect.

  7. Yankee_Baal 5 years ago

    Of course Soriano will not be released this season, maybe not even the next, but Neyer is ultimately right, no matter how Hendry tries to cover it. At 18 millions a year the Cubs HAVE to give him every possible chance to return to form (including personal conditioners, special coaches and maybe even a Santeria-shaman/guru/whatever placing a counter curse on him), but if it doesn’t work they can’t carry a completely negative value on the team’s 25-men roster. I think that, being realistic, Soriano will be looking for a new job around the middle of the 2012 season.

  8. Ben, it’s not that his power has dropped off; it’s that he hasn’t been on the field enough to hit home runs.

    • Suzysman 5 years ago

      Of course, from career .230 ISO, 11.1 XBH%, 15+% HR/FB and 4.9 HR% pre-Cubs to .182 ISO, 8.8 XBH%, 11.5 HR/FB and 3.8 HR% last year… well, his power has dropped – a ton.

  9. Trious 5 years ago

    The Cubs should have known that is terrible walk rate would mean he would eventually become terrible as he got older

  10. dizfactor 5 years ago

    A lot of it has to do with the fact that Hendry is to proud to admit he screwed up so royally especially after the Bradley fiasco.

  11. Suzysman 5 years ago

    After reading the initial article once more, I had one more thing to say:

    “Never been a thought to it,” Hendry told host Jim Memolo. “No. Those things are speculated by probably people in your profession, not ours.”

    Although not the only questionable section, I have to ask – “probably people”? Really Hendry? Meaning it might not have been people? Is it possibly puppies speculating Hendry? Are the puppies talking to you again Hendry?

    We really are being run by Tommy-Boy, and its just not fair!

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