Trade Candidate: Alfonso Soriano

Look up any recentlypublished list of baseball's worst contracts and you won't have to read for long before encountering Alfonso Soriano's name. The eight-year, $136MM deal Soriano signed following the 2006 season remains a regrettable one for the Cubs, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that Soriano remains a modest offensive threat. In a trade market that doesn't yet feature impact hitters, Soriano figures to draw interest this summer.

Alfonso Soriano - Cubs (PW)

Presumably, the Cubs will be paying most of his salary in any trade. Soriano will earn $18MM per season through 2014, which means $47MM or so remains on his contract. The Cubs, who already seem willing to sell, are reportedly willing to pick up most of Soriano’s salary to facilitate a trade. It'd be a surprise if they absorb less than $35MM of Soriano’s contract.

Soriano has a .266/.315/.480 batting line so far this year. All 12 of his home runs have come since May 15th, so he's still capable of impressive bursts of power. He has a career .276/.345/.519 line against left-handed pitching, which will make him appealing to teams that struggle against southpaws, or teams in search of power.

Yet Soriano’s an exceptionally aggressive hitter (only 12 qualified hitters swing at a higher percentage of pitches) who doesn't walk or get on base much relative to the rest of the league. His value on offense is closely tied to his power and, now that he's 36, it's unclear how much longer he'll continue producing at this level.

A number of contending teams could have interest in Soriano. The Indians rank 29th in MLB with a .630 OPS against left-handed pitching, and they have a potential opening in left field. The Pirates rank 22nd with a .678 OPS against lefties and could create at bats for Soriano. The Tigers haven't enjoyed much production from their DH spot or from right field, and they’d like to add a right-handed bat. The Nationals lead the NL East, yet their left fielders are last in the game in OPS. 

Soriano has a full no-trade clause, but he has said he’s willing to accept a deal if the Cubs propose to move him to a contender. Non-contenders probably wouldn’t have interest in Soriano given his age and salary, so the no-trade clause may not be a major obstacle.

Back in 2004, Soriano was traded for 28-year-old Alex Rodriguez. Eight years later, his trade value is nowhere near that high. It's hard to imagine any general manager agreeing to part with an elite prospect for Soriano, regardless of how much salary the Cubs take on. Even so, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer could be motivated to move Soriano if the Cubs can obtain an intriguing young player for him and shed some salary in the process.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

39 Responses to Trade Candidate: Alfonso Soriano Leave a Reply

  1. the_show 3 years ago

    I hear Soriano doesn’t like to run to first

    • It was on a line drive dude, chill out

      • the_show 3 years ago

        I don’t even care…I heard people talking about it today and thought it was funny

      • baseball52 3 years ago

        He should have been running out of the box to begin with. Would he have made it? Likely, no, but it’s still the principle of the thing for a guy that doesn’t have much room for screw ups.

    • imachainsaw 3 years ago

      granted, he does have a history of not always running hard out of the box, keep in mind that, currently, he’s playing on a bum knee. he’s probably less likely to hustle out of the box on what he perceives to be an unnecessary effort at his current state, than he is when fully healthy.

  2. Johnny_Champagne 3 years ago

    After last season’s trade, I have a horrible feeling Cleveland will give up Lindor for Soriano with the Cubs also picking up most of the money owed.  Crazier things have happened.  Or have they?

  3. Soriano Back to the Yankees!

    • You beat me to it! My friend is moving back to NY in 2 days and he’s a big Yankees fan and has fond memories of Alfonso and we were just talking about how cool it would be if he made a return. Highly unlikely though.

  4. While Soriano is playing better defensively, and has been his normally super streaky self, I just want to see him go anyway possible.  The announcers are covering for him, as are the players, in my opinion, to get the highest trade value possible out of him. 

    I’m sure he is a nice guy, but he is an obviously selfish player that really doesn’t understand the game that well at all.  When a guy consistently goes up to the plate, with no outs, and swings at pitches way out of the zone because he is “so intent” on slamming a homer every bat…………!

    This is supposed to be a veteran we are talking about.   Why is taking some pitches such a bad thing? 

    It’s good for him and good for the people behind him.

    Despite all the pundits who claim this team is horrible, most of the games have been close.  If you would have taken a couple of the offensive logjams out of the lineup, mainly Soriano despite his Home Run and RBI total, I think this is a very different and possibly even competitive team.  

    • BLB25 3 years ago

      I understand why you dislike the way he plays and I know how frustrating it can be watching guys hurt not just themselves, but the rest of the lineup too, with their impatience.  But at the same time that’s just the kind of player Soriano is at this point.  With a career .323 OBP, he’s just never had a great eye or a ton of patience.  It seems a little unfair to me to expect him to expect him to completely change his approach at age 36.  Again, I’m not saying your concerns aren’t flaws in his game, and I understand why you want to see him dealt, particularly with Rizzo waiting.  But Soriano is who he is, and being a free swinger with power is always how he’s helped his teams, you can’t really blame him for not completely reinventing himself as a hitter in his mid 30s.

    • Ptk123 3 years ago

      And you think Soriano is suddenly going to change from being a free swinger his entire career? Even in his best years he would K a few times every game.

  5. BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    I remember how upset he was when he was moved to the outfield. How about taking him back to 2B? I know, winner of the Concrete Glove award several years running, but still might be an option and increase his trade value.

    • CubHope 3 years ago

       As bad as his knee is, he should only be DH-ing.   His inability to move quickly would really get exposed at 2B, he can barely play the outfield at this point

    • Ptk123 3 years ago

      Him playing 2nd would decrease his value, I would rather have Paul Maholm or Travis Wood play 2nd.

      • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

        Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t necessarily suggesting that the Cubs play him at second, only that marketing him as an infielder might increase the number of interested teams.

        • Ptk123 3 years ago

          I see what you mean, I guess if it help’s to get him out then by all means lets market him as a Inf/Of/DH lol.

  6. kjbaune 3 years ago

    Soriano to the Braves = maybe a another wild card loss.

    • CubsFan5 3 years ago

      He’s going to the AL where he can DH and play LF once in a while. 

  7. Jeff Snedden 3 years ago

    I hate that the Pirates keep getting mentioned in every online piece about possible Soriano destinations.  NO CHANCE.  I would love to see the Bucs grab Maholm back in a deal with the Cubbies.  Adding another starter will be paramount to making sure this team doesn’t fold like last season.  Maholm is a guy I wanted to see in Pittsburgh for his entire career.  Great community guy and a bulldog on the mound. 

  8. Corey 3 years ago

    Cubs- “We owe our fans a little something after getting jammed by the Sosa deal, instantly making the Soriano deal, and using their huge contracts as reason for jacking up ticket prices.”
    Fans–“Yeah!!! FREE PEANUTS!!! NOW we have something to look forward too!”
    I am a Cub fan, gotta be able to laugh though.

  9. Wainwrights_Curveball 3 years ago

    Even to this day that Soriano deal makes me oh so happy. Everyone know the club only had a 2 or 3 year window during that deal to make ish happen. They never made it out of the first round of the playoffs during Soriano’s first two seasons. After that, the contract has been nothing but a disaster. And somewhere out there Jim Hendry is drinking a beer and smiling.

  10. CubsFan5 3 years ago

    He is using a lighter bat.

  11. BLB25 3 years ago

    Has it though?  His OPS+ the last 3 seasons
    2010: 114
    2011: 104
    2012: 114
    career: 113
    Nice to see him rebound a bit from a down year last year, and he’s still a useful offensive player, but I wouldn’t say something has clicked.  He’s still just an awful defensive outfielder with below average on base skills and very good power. 

  12. johnsilver 3 years ago

     Wrigley field must have been filled with them for the amount of “bronx cheers” he received after making it 30′ or so out of the batters box when that play was all said and done and getting thrown out at 1st..

    FWIW.. David Ortiz doesn’t like running around the bases much either, or anything he thinks is leaving “yard” and has been known to get thrown out at 2nd before as he stood at HP.. Gawking at his towering shots that have landed in the playing field, hit the wall etc… Sometimes on national TV even…

  13. CubsFan5 3 years ago

    He really isn’t that bad on defense anymore, he’s actually improved greatly. The main issue comes when he’s out there and his knees are bothering him. When they aren’t though he’s fine. 

  14. Lookouts400 3 years ago

    Mabe so, B, but OPS and OPS+ are such misleading stats.  The benchmark for hitters is an 800 OPS, obtained usually with a 350 OBP and a 450 SLG.  Soriano has made the SLG requirement easily the past several years, with one exception, but only once in his career has he made the OBP.  That’s was in 2006, his one and only year in DC(277/351/560 for a career high 911 OPS) and he made it by one percentage point.  His career numbers put him in the same category as all or nothing free swingers like Rob Deer, Dave Kingman, and Mickey Tettleton.   I wouldn’t even put him in a the same class as the Orioles’ Mary Reynolds, who, even with all his strikeouts, hits HRs, drives in runs, and takes walks.  Indeed, Reynolds has cut his swing down since his stint on the DL, and is making better contact and has had his average up to 250 and his OBP near 360.  But his SLG is at a career low.

    So, I guess it’s a choice of what you what.

  15. He has 0 errors

  16. vtadave 3 years ago

    Here’s why – Arod’s salaries:

    2012: about $15 million left
    2013: $28 million
    2014: $25 million
    2015: $21 million
    2016: $20 million
    2017: $20 million (turns 42 in July)

    Total: $129 million.  Savings over Soriano would be about $83 million.

  17. BLB25 3 years ago

    I was only using OPS+ to compare Soriano to himself, while also maintaining some reference for his performance relative to the rest of the league.  If you want to get more technical his wRC+ of 106 is up a bit from last year’s 99 but down from 2010’s 113 and his career 113 mark.  It essentially tells the same story I was trying to convey initially.  Soriano is still an above average offensive player (though probably not above average for a corner outfielder) but it based on his numbers it doesn’t really seem like something has clicked for him this year.  It looks to me like he had a pretty unlucky 2011 and is now playing to, or maybe at 36 years old slightly above, his ability.  

  18. Spit Ball 3 years ago

    Tettelton took walks.

  19. Ptk123 3 years ago

    Yeah like a Brewers fan can really talk when you have Aoki in your OF taking by far worst angles in baseball! Not to mention you have Mr PED Braun and his errors in LF!

  20. CubsFan5 3 years ago

    If you’re talking about the series after the Cubs played SF, you’d be correct. He was out there and couldn’t even run because of sore knees. The SF series he was lightly jogging in the outfield 

  21. Ptk123 3 years ago

    Him getting boo’s was just dumb. Middlebrooks didn’t even have to move his feet to catch that ball.

  22. jwsox 3 years ago

    To correct you it’s Mr. Banned substance not Mr. PED. And let’s be fair he failed one test during the post season and passed the test right after that. I’m not a brewers fan but don’t talk trash about a guy who during the regular season put up number to win an MVP and was clean and has not failed a test since.

  23. Lookouts400 3 years ago

    He’s an above average offensive player only when he hits homeruns.  He doesn’t, he isn’t. That’s his only talent anymore.

  24. Lookouts400 3 years ago

     You are correct, lots of them, in fact.

  25. BLB25 3 years ago

    which everyone knows is the best way to judge defense.

  26. Ptk123 3 years ago

    Oh yes, every gold glove winner wins because of their defense. Has nothing to do with their bat at all! 

    Braun has 1 more error than Soriano whom is no gem in the OF. So keep throwing around that Gold glove talk! 

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