Van Dyck’s column assumes that the Nationals actually were counting on Soriano to fill an outfield spot, and that Sosa could take that spot instead. My take: Soriano is seriously not moving to the outfield. He’s said it over and over and my sources said the same before that. The column also assumes a healthy Jose Vidro. Despite some positive reports, I’m nowhere near convinced of that. I don’t think the outfield situation affects the second base situation for the Nats. The only variable is Vidro’s health. If he’s in great shape this spring, they have a surplus.
Both Soriano and Vidro’s contracts are terribly bloated. Can Soriano possibly provide $11MM worth of value in 2006? Highly unlikely. He’s been less than a four win player each season since joining Texas. According to Baseball Prospectus’s Marginal Value Above Replacement Player, Soriano will be worth around $7MM in this season.
The same system has Vidro worth about $3.5MM in ’06 and $2.5MM in ’07. Given that he’s owed $16MM over the next two seasons, Jim Bowden would have to kick in some major cash for it to make sense for Chicago.
The Cubs’ apparent infatuation with various overpaid second basemen doesn’t gel with the supposed new organizational philosophy. I thought the Cubs were shifting towards OBP and defense, two attributes not found in Soriano’s repertoire. The Cubs would be well served to put their efforts towards Julio Lugo, who is available and was a seven win shortstop in 2005. Even the most optimistic projection of Ronny Cedeno doesn’t call for that kind of production, and three or four extra wins could make all the difference.
The Mets seem content with their internal options for second base, so the Cubs probably are the only team interested in Soriano at this point.