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Alfonso Soriano Rumors
Alfonso Soriano is heading back to the same team with which he began his Major League career. After stops in Texas and Washington and an extended stay in Chicago, Soriano has come full circle by officially waiving his no-trade rights to approve a trade to the Yankees. The Cubs will receive minor league right-hander Corey Black in the trade, which was approved by Major League Baseball this morning and later officially announced by the Yankees.
Soriano is in the seventh season of an eight-year, $136MM contract that he signed with the Cubs in November 2006. He has roughly $6.5MM remaining on this season's $18MM salary and will earn $18MM once again in 2014. The Yankees will pay just $6.8MM of the remaining money on that contract — $1.8MM in 2013 and $5MM in 2014.
Black, 21, ranked as the Yankees' No. 25 prospect prior to the season, according to Baseball America. BA wrote that Black's fastball has touched 100 mph and sits comfortably at 95 mph. His plus athleticism allows him to repeat his release point, according to BA, and he also features an average changeup and improved slider to go along with a fringe curveball. The Yankees were developing him as a starter, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted earlier today that the Cubs view Black as a power reliever in the future. In 82 2/3 innings at High-A Tampa this season, the 2012 fourth-round pick has a 4.25 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9.
Reports that a trade was on the horizon first surfaced yesterday after Soriano was pulled from the Cubs' lineup. Manager Dale Sveum confirmed to reporters shortly after that a trade sending the longtime Cub to New York was "99 percent" complete.
The Yankees have been in the market for upgrades to their offense for quite some time, and while Soriano's OBP leaves something to be desired, he certainly still has power. Perhaps more important is the fact that he is of particular benefit against left-handed pitching. Soriano is hitting lefties at a .273/.310/.496 clip thus far in 2013, which will be a significant boost to a Yankees club that has batted just .234/.306/.338 against opposing southpaws.
The Cubs have been far and away the most active seller in baseball at this point, having traded Scott Feldman, Scott Hairston and Matt Garza prior to this deal. They're expected to continue their aggressive sale through the trade deadline next Wednesday.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune was the first to report (via Twitter) that Soriano had been pulled from the lineup and a trade was on the verge. USA Today's Bob Nightengale first reported that the deal was finished, pending MLB approval, and the Cubs would receive a Class-A pitcher. ESPN's Buster Olney broke the news regarding the exchange of cash (on Twitter), and Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio first reported that MLB had approved the deal (Twitter link). Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report that Black was the prospect Chicago would receive for Soriano (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
11:55pm: Soriano is taking a red-eye flight to New York, tweets Sullivan, though no deal has been announced yet.
8:58pm: Major League Baseball still needs to process the paperwork and the exchange of cash in the deal, tweets Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the deal isn't likely to happen tonight, as it's still pending Bud Selig's approval. The Cubs, according to Heyman, will pay more than half of the remaining money on Soriano's contract (Twitter links).
8:05pm: USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets that the two sides have agreed on which pitching prospect will be going to the Cubs, and a deal has nearly been finalized.
6:56pm: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Cubs are likely to receive a lower-tier pitching prospect for Soriano and that they will eat the majority of the money remaining on Soriano's contract. The two sides are waiting for the formal waiving of Soriano's no-trade clause (Twitter links).
6:33pm: Alfonso Soriano has been scratched from the Cubs' lineup tonight because he is close to being traded to the Yankees, Cubs manager Dale Sveum confirmed to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Sullivan adds that Sveum referred to the trade as "99 percent done."
Reports of a Soriano deal between the Yankees and Cubs first surfaced earlier this week, but general manager Jed Hoyer shot them down, calling them "premature." This time, however, Cubs president Theo Epstein has told Sveum that a deal is nearly complete, as noted by MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter). Soriano, who can refuse any trade due to a full no-trade clause (he's also a 10-and-5 player at this point), confirmed yesterday that he would be open to joining the Yankees.
Soriano, 37, would be joining the team with which he broke into the Major Leagues back in 1999. The Dominican native played with the Bombers from 1999-2003 before being traded to the Rangers along with Joaquin Arias for Alex Rodriguez. In 383 plate appearances for the Cubs this season, Soriano is batting .254/.287/.467 with 17 home runs.
Ryan Braun has yet to address the public regarding his 65-game suspension for his involvement with Tony Bosch's Biogenesis clinic, but he issued a statement through the Brewers' PR department today explaining that he is not legally able to speak on the topic while MLB's investigation still ongoing (Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporting). Braun says he will speak when he is legally allowed to do so. Here's more on the NL Central…
- Haudricourt tweets that the question surrounding Yovani Gallardo should no longer be whether or not he's traded, but rather whether or not the Brewers can salvage a pitcher who is losing his stuff. Gallardo allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings against the Padres today.
- Alfonso Soriano will be the last Cubs player to cause any drama regarding no-trade protection for a long time, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. President Theo Epstein doesn't believe in putting no-protection in contracts, so Soriano will be the last to receive that luxury (aside from players who end up with 10-and-5 rights, of course). The Cubs have dealt with no-trade hurdles when trying to move Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee, Carlos Marmol, Aramis Ramirez and Soriano himself in recent years.
- The Cardinals appear unlikely to make a significant trade, according to Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. General manager John Mozeliak won't part with top prospects Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras or Kolten Wong unless a "major" upgrade at shortstop or a high-end starting pitcher becomes available.
Here's the latest on Alfonso Soriano and the potential deal sending him to the Bronx..
- Theo Epstein told reporters that Soriano has been given two or three days to sign off on a deal that would send him to the Yankees, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times. "He'll let us know where he'll go, if anywhere. At that point, it's up to us if we want to move forward and finalize a deal," said Epstein, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The veteran has agreed to a list of possible teams that he'll accept a trade to, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.
- Soriano told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter), that he spoke with Cubs president Theo Epstein about the possibillity of being traded and while nothing is done yet, he sounds as though he's ready to move on and join the Yankees.
- Of all the trade rumors that have been surrounding him, Soriano says that this one is the most real to him, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of Chicago Sun-Times.
- Soriano isn't sad about the idea of moving on, saying, "I'm 37. I want one more chance to go to the World Series," Sullivan tweets. He wants to finish his contract with the Cubs, but he also wants to win and knows that this team is a few years away from contending, tweets Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
The Cubs dealt Matt Garza yesterday and are exploring a deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, though that trade is far from complete (if it happens at all). Here's the latest from Wrigley Field…
- The Garza negotiations were "pretty all-consuming" for the organization, Theo Epstein told reporters (including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune). With that deal now settled, Epstein said his team "can focus on some other things that we thought would happen closer to the deadline."
- Epstein tells reporters (including MLB.com's Carrie Muskat) that the Yankees aren't the only team who have called about Soriano.
- A "large gap" exists between the Cubs and Yankees about Soriano's value, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. The two teams are also far apart in determining how the $24.9MM remaining on Soriano's contract will be split up.
- CBS Sports' Jon Heyman believes the Cubs will end up paying more than half of Soriano's remaining salary and that a Soriano-to-New York deal "simply makes too much sense" for either side to balk.
- The Cubs have shown interest in Yankees third baseman David Adams in the past, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter link), though Sherman isn't sure if Adams' name has come up in the Soriano trade talks.
- Jeff Samardzija tells Carrie Muskat that he hasn't thought much about a long-term extension with the Cubs. "I haven't had too many talks with my agent outside of bill paying and insurance paying and taxes, which are always the most fun conversations. We'll see what happens in the offseason," Samardzija said. The right-hander is controlled through the 2015 season and has two remaining years of arbitration eligibility. The two sides discussed an extension in the offseason but not much progress was made.
6:39pm: Soriano tells reporters that the Cubs contacted his agent to tell him that the Yankees had interest, but since no deal is close, there has been no discussion of waiving his no-trade clause. Soriano hasn't spoken directly to the Cubs front office and is "open to anything" trade-wise, though he wants to make sure he'll still be able to play every day on a potential new team (all links are to the Twitter feed of Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times). The Yankees are the only team that has made contract with Soriano's agent, so they may be his only trade option (via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune).
1:48pm: In an interview with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio (audio link), Cubs GM Jed Hoyer called reports of a deal being near "very premature." Hoyer adds that there is "nothing close at all."
The Cubs have discussed Soriano with multiple teams, and Hoyer and Epstein plan to fly to Arizona to speak with the outfielder in order to gauge his interest in the teams that have inquired about him.
10:31am: A Cubs source tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that the two sides are indeed negotiating a Soriano trade, but a deal is not close at this time. The conversations to this point have been closer to preliminary, according to Sullivan, though he notes that both sides appear motivated to get something worked out.
8:11am: The Cubs scouted 24-year-old Triple-A right-hander Chase Whitley over the weekend, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Whitley has a 3.52 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 1/3 innings this season.
Sherman adds that right-handed relief is one area where the Yankees feel they're deep in young. In addition to Whitley, they have Preston Claiborne and Shawn Kelley at the Major League level and prospects Dellin Betances, Danny Burawa and Tommy Kahnle on the way.
7:47am: The Cubs likely consulted with Soriano before engaging in serious discussions with the Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that Soriano recently told FOX Sports that he would accept the right deal to the right team. His article also has quotes of high praise from teammate David DeJesus and manager Dale Sveum about the 37-year-old Soriano's work ethic.
1:10am: The Yankees and Cubs are nearing a deal that would send Alfonso Soriano to the New York, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. Soriano is owed roughly $24.9MM over the remainder of his contract (roughly $6.9MM in 2013 and $18MM in 2014), and King reports that the Cubs would pick up the majority of the remaining tab in exchange for a mid-level prospect.
Soriano, 37, would be joining the team with which he broke into the Major Leagues back in 1999. The Dominican native played with the Bombers from 1999-2003 before being traded to the Rangers along with Joaquin Arias for Alex Rodriguez. In 378 plate appearances for the Cubs this season, Soriano is batting .256/.286/.471 with 17 home runs.
Soriano, of course, would have to waive the same no-trade clause that he enacted a year ago when the Cubs attempted to trade him to the Giants. Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been exceptionally busy of late, with the Cubs trading Matt Garza to the Rangers earlier today. They also traded Scott Hairston to the Nationals and Scott Feldman to the Orioles earlier this month.
Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs is on the Yankees' radar as a possible trade target, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. If any deal were to take place, though, it might not happen in July, since the $25MM remaining on Soriano's contract means he's sure to pass through waivers in August. Soriano has a full no-trade clause, but says he will consider a trade to a contending team. Wittenmyer writes that the Yankees view another Cubs outfielder, Nate Schierholtz, as more of a platoon type.
- The Nationals shouldn't be buyers at the trade deadline, the Washington Post's Thomas Boswell writes. The Nats are now 48-50, and are now seven games back of the Braves in the NL East, as well as seven games back of the Reds for the second Wild Card. Boswell points out that their chance of making the playoffs is less than 20 percent, and for a team in that position, the value of a rental player like Matt Garza or Ervin Santana is questionable. Boswell argues that even if the Nats acquire a player who is also under contract for 2014, like Jake Peavy or Yovani Gallardo, they need to do so mostly because those players can help next year, not because they can help down the stretch this season.
- The Angels are now ten games back of the Athletics in the AL West, and it looks like they should sell at the trade deadline, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi tweets. (Note that Morosi isn't predicting the Angels will sell, only saying that they should.) If the Angels were to sell, Erick Aybar and Scott Downs are two players they could trade, Morosi writes. Aybar is in the first year of a four-year, $35MM deal, and he's hitting .287/.305/.388 as the Angels' starting shortstop. Downs, who is in the last year of a three-year, $15MM contract, has a 1.32 ERA, albeit with a more pedestrian 6.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
- The Dodgers have heavily scouted Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez recently, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports. Milwaukee also has two other veteran relievers in Mike Gonzalez and John Axford, and Knobler notes that the Tigers and Red Sox have also been scouting the Brewers. Still, the Brewers might opt not to trade any of their relievers before the deadline.
- The Yankees have signed left-handed pitcher Artur Strzalka, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues notes (via Baseball America's Matt Eddy). Strzalka is the first born-and-raised Polish player ever to sign with a Major League team. As Axisa notes, one likely purpose of this signing is to help the Yankees establish themselves as bidders for talent in a new part of the world.
We're less than two weeks away from the non-waiver trade deadline, and with the rumor mill heating up, here's the latest out of the AL West…
- Angels lefties Jason Vargas and Sean Burnett aren't likely to return before the trade deadline, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The duo could return shortly after July 31, however. Both southpaws would have been attractive July trading chips, as Vargas is a free agent at season's end, and Burnett is on the first year of an affordable two-year, $8MM contract.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge are in a tricky position. The duo will likely be judged based on the team's record, which would be better if they hang onto Kendrys Morales, Joe Saunders, Raul Ibanez and the rest of the team's trade chips. However, that also does little to build for the future, leading Stone to say that they could be in a lose-lose situation.
- In addition to their talks with the Cubs regarding Matt Garza, the Rangers are also seeking a right-handed bat, GM Jon Daniels told reporters today (including Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com). Alex Rios and Alfonso Soriano "have been mentioned as possible acquisitions," according to Wills, who adds that the Rangers aren't yet ready to give Manny Ramirez a chance at the big league level.
- From that same piece, Daniels adds that the Rangers aren't panicking over Nelson Cruz's connection to the Biogenesis scandal.
Trade rumors continue to swirl around the Cubs' Matt Garza, but his teammates would like to see the Cubs extend him, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. "It’s hard to find pitchers like that because he’s always there for us," left fielder Alfonso Soriano said. However, an AL GM told CSN Chicago's David Kaplan recently that there's probably not much to recent rumors that the Cubs are exploring an extension for Garza. "I'd be stunned if he is a Cub August 1," the executive told Kaplan. Some more North Siders notes..
- Soriano is the subject of a lot of trade talk himself, but he's not thinking about the rumors, according to Sullivan. "If they want me to stay here, I stay here. But if they don’t want me to, the door is open. I’ve had a good time. I just play one day at a time and enjoy my time," the former All-Star said.
- Soriano's recent surge, in which he's hit .381 with six homers and four doubles in 10 games, has drawn new attention from contending teams that are looking for offense, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Soriano, who has a full no-trade clause, turned down a potential trade to the Giants last year, but he indicated during the Cubs' recent road trip that he may be more open to more teams this summer. "For sure, if somebody asks for me, they have to be a contender for the playoffs," Soriano said. "A good city, I guess … But I don’t want to think about it. Just see what happens."
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum's decision to use James Russell for the third consecutive day in Monday's blowout win over the White Sox may have been to showcase the lefty to "the many" scouts in attendance, Sullivan also reports. Sullivan notes that the Red Sox are seeking to fill the void left by recently injured left-hander Andrew Miller. Though the Cubs aren't attempting to trade Russell, they aren't deeming any player untouchable in their summer sale, Sullivan says, citing an anonymous source.
- The Cubs could also move catcher Dioner Navarro, who's performed well above expectations since signing a one-year deal in the offseason, writes Sullivan. Navarro's already clubbed eight homers this year after never hitting more than nine in any previous season. Together, Garza and Navarro could be "a perfect package deal," Sullivan imagines. Navarro, who serves as a mentor to catcher Welington Castillo and has just 128 plate appearances, concedes that he'd like to return to a full-time role.
Five years ago today, the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians for Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, and a player to be named later. The PTBNL turned out to be Michael Brantley who hit a pair of homers, including the game-winner, and drove in a career-high five runs in the Indians' 9-6 win over the Tigers this afternoon. Brantley, who has matched his career-best with seven home runs on the season, has become the headliner in the deal for the Indians as LaPorta has been a disappointment and is no longer on their 40-man roster, Bryson is struggling with an ERA over 11 at Double-A Akron, and Jackson is now in the Royals organization. Sabathia, meanwhile, was so dominant during his short tenure as a Brewer he led the NL in complete games (seven) and shutouts (three) while posting a 1.65 ERA during 17 regular-season starts. Sabathia used that platform to sign a record seven-year, $161MM contract with the Yankees. Will there be a similar blockbuster deal between MLB Central Division teams in 2013? Here's the latest:
- With Ricky Nolasco becoming a Dodger, the trade rumor spotlight will now shine brightly upon the Cubs' Matt Garza. The Nationals have kicked the tires on the right-hander, but talks have not progressed to the point of a formal proposal being exchanged, a person familiar with the situation told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals, who already have scouted Garza this year, have long had an interest in acquiring Garza engaging in a "not insignificant" pursuit of him in 2011 before the Rays shipped him to the Cubs.
- Alfonso Soriano has increased his trade value thanks to five home runs and 13 RBIs in his last eight games, writes ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.
- Jake Peavy will continue his rehab from a fractured rib with a simulated game Tuesday after reporting normal soreness from a 53-pitch bullpen session Friday, reports Scott Merkin of MLB.com. If healthy, Peavy could be dealt before the Trade Deadline. "We'll see how it plays out," Peavy told Merkin. "I'm open to anything and I'll do everything I'm asked to do. If that's staying here, I'll be happy to do that. If that means to move, then that's something we'll address and be OK with when that time comes."
- The Cardinals are conducting a low-key search for a starting pitcher and, if healthy, Chris Carpenter could be that starter bringing the club confidence, energy, and swagger during the dog days of the schedule, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "They’re going to evaluate me," Carpenter said. "Is my stuff good enough? Am I good enough to fit in and move one of these guys? If not, be honest, tell me and move on."
- Scouts from the Tigers, Cardinals, and Orioles were on hand for the Brewers–Mets game today, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Last night, MLBTR's Jeff Todd highlighted the Trade Deadline options for the Indians.